India cuts 84% of TB deaths in AIDS patients by 2017

Trauma surgeon Joao Rezende-Neto poses for a photograph holding a working tracheotomy device at his office in St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. In Dr. Joao Rezende-Neto's 25-year career as a trauma surgeon, he's only twice dealt with patients who insisted on forking over big bucks to buy equipment for a procedure. One of the times was in Brazil, where medical technology is far less advanced, and his patient needed a tracheostomy, a procedure involving an incision made in the windpipe to clear breathing obstructions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

India achieved 84 per cent reduction in tuberculosis deaths among people living with HIV by 2017 – three years ahead of the target, said a report by The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

The report on Friday showed that India is among the five low or middle-income countries — Eritrea (83 per cent), Djibouti (78 per cent), Malawi (78 per cent) and Togo (75 per cent) — that achieved or exceeded the target of a 75 per cent reduction in TB deaths among people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), by 2017, three years ahead of the 2020 target.

According to the World Health Organization, globally, TB deaths among people living with HIV have fallen by 42 per cent since 2010, from 520,000 down to 300,000 in 2017.

“TB should be a disease of the past. It has been treatable and preventable for decades. Years of neglecting the rights of the world’s poor to basic health care, food and shelter have let TB take hold and allowed resistance to build,” Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said in a statement.

TB is the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming around 4,400 lives a day.

It also remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, causing one in three AIDS-related deaths. In 2017, 1.6 million people died from TB, including around three lakh people living with HIV.

“People living with HIV are especially at risk. There is still a chance for many countries to meet the target, but we have to act now it’s time to end TB and AIDS,” Sidibe said.

The report also showed that between 2010 and 2017, in around 40 countries the number of TB deaths among people living with HIV rose.

In eastern Europe and central Asia, the number of TB deaths among people living with HIV increased by 22 per cent between 2010 and 2017, with increases being seen in all but three countries in the region.

In Latin America, deaths rose by seven per cent.

Integrating TB and HIV services, using community-based approaches to find, diagnose and treat the missing cases can help countries reduce the death rates, the UN health body suggested.