GHC Conference: Changing Course: Stemming the Deadly Twin Epidemics of HIV and Tuberculosis

20 May 2010
by Working Group

Global Health Council
Global Health Council

On May 20, the Center hosted a briefing with leading scientists and advocates on combating the dual epidemics of HIV and TB: Changing Course: Stemming the Deadly Twin Epidemics of HIV and Tuberculosis.

A complete wrap-up of the event can be found at this online press room.

As U.S. policymakers prepare to make key decisions about global health spending amid an unfolding crisis in access to HIV treatment in Africa, a group of the nation’s leading scientists and advocates will gather to discuss the opportunities and challenges for combating the deadly dual epidemics of HIV and TB. Join Anthony Fauci, MD, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Immunoregulation; HIV scientist and clinician, Kenneth Mayer, MD, of Brown University; Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group; and other experts to discuss new scientific opportunities and urgent political strategies to reverse the course of the HIV and TB epidemics and the consequences of reduced funding. The presentations coincide with the release of a special May 2010 supplement of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, which focuses on the scope of HIV and TB globally and showcases advances in diagnostics, treatment, and prevention.

Among the topics addressed:

  • HIV treatment as prevention: What does the science tell us about this controversial concept?
  • The TB diagnostic and drug pipeline: How can current innovations revolutionize TB treatment?
  • The threat of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB): Are we destined to repeat a history of complacency and neglect in our efforts to combat these virulent new strains of drug-resistant TB?
  • Tackling the deadly duo: What are the lessons learned from integrating HIV and TB treatment in resource-poor settings


The two most deadly infectious diseases worldwide, HIV and TB, claim the lives of nearly 10,000 people every day. Despite major advances in the treatment of HIV, the AIDS epidemic remains an unprecedented public health challenge, with an estimated 33 million people currently living with the virus and 2.7 million new HIV infections a year. And although scientists discovered a cure for TB more than five decades ago, there is more tuberculosis in the world today than ever before. Today, one-third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis, and there were an estimated 9.4 million new TB cases in 2008. In tandem, HIV infection and TB create a deadly synergy. TB is the number one cause of death among people with HIV. HIV/AIDS has reignited the TB epidemic across the developing world, fueling increases in MDR-TB and XDR-TB as well.

In this special issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, internationally renowned physician-scientists explore the potential for new HIV prevention strategies; detail tailored interventions needed to curb the epidemic among targeted populations, including injection drug users and women and infants; describe promising new tools in the TB drug and diagnostic pipeline, as well as the progress towards a TB vaccine; and present the latest evidence about treatment of TB in HIV-infected individuals, among other topics.

The briefing is sponsored by the Center for Global Health Policy, an initiative of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association, and the Global Health Council.

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