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HIV poses the biggest challenge - Express Buzz

CHENNAI: The biggest challenge healthcare professionals face on this year’s World Tuberculosis Day, which falls on Wednesday, is finding ways to break the vicious link between tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. With 60 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs) having contracted tuberculosis, the problem is huge.

Though TN has one of the most intensive TB cont r o l p r o - grammes, the health department is yet to bring hospitals in the private sector under the programme.

Senior clinician at the Tuberculosis Research Centre Dr Jawahar said that TB was the commonest infection contracted by PLHAs.

The HIV epidemic has led to an increase in the number of people with TB, he said.

One of the main challenges for the government’s TB control programme is curbing the increasing rate of HIV infections. If HIV/AIDS were tackled, it would be much easier to wipe out TB.

Compulsory screening of PLHAs for TB and those with TB for HIV/AIDS would go a long way in solving the problem, Dr Jawahar said.

According to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme, 2009, there are 84,610 patients registered with TB. Of these, those who have tested for HIV before or during their treatment number 31,753. And among these, the number of PLHAs is 2,799.

Another problem, Dr Jawahar said was that 50 per cent of patients went to private hospitals for treatment. This made it difficult to bring them under the ambit of the State’s TB control programme. However, there are now plans underway to bring in public-private partnership modules for TB control, he said.

Dr Suniti Solomon, Director of YRG Care, said PLHAs, at some point, contracted the TB infection.

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