Governments should put more focus on TB treatment

World AIDS Day a time to notice Canada's contribution to tuberculosis treatment

Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death for people living with HIV/AIDS, and is responsible for one in four HIV/AIDS deaths globally.

However, according to a recent report, only seven per cent of people living with HIV are being tested for TB. This despite the fact that it costs almost $1,000 a year to treat someone with HIV, and only $20 to treat them for TB.

In 2009, the Canadian government announced almost $100 million over five years for a new facility at the World Health Organization that would give out grants to increase TB case detection and treatment.

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. Canada should, as the first and only major funder of TB Reach, push for the establishment of a dedicated stream for detecting TB in people with HIV/AIDS.

It is a foolish squandering of resources to pay so much for antiretrovirals, rather than focus on as easily detectable and treatable a disease as TB.

Nathaniel Poole