Even though tuberculosis (TB) is entirely preventable and treatable, more than 4,100 people lose their lives every day to TB, and nearly 28,000 more acquire the virus. On this World TB Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), in addition to urging governments worldwide to increase resources to fight the deadly disease, encourages people everywhere to “Invest in Health: Get tested for TB & HIV!”
Along with being one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases, TB is one of the leading causes of death among people living with HIV. It’s vital that global leaders, and individuals alike with their personal health care, boost investments to fight TB. Increasing resources and actions to battle tuberculosis is also especially critical amid another ongoing global health crisis in COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has rightfully captured the world’s attention over the last two-plus years, but tuberculosis remains a significant threat to people in all countries. It’s even more dangerous for people living with HIV since they’re 18 times more likely to develop active TB disease than people without HIV,” said AHF Director of Global Advocacy & Policy Guillermina Alaniz. “With our World TB Day 2022 theme ‘Invest in Health: Get tested for TB & HIV,’ we want to send the message loud and clear that the world must do more to preserve the precious gains we’ve made in recent years fighting TB – and make a much-needed push to end this preventable and treatable disease.”
Observed annually on March 24, World TB Day coincides with German physician and bacteriologist Robert Koch’s announcement in 1882 of his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The first World TB Day was held one century later when TB incidence was rising worldwide. For commemoration this year, select AHF country teams have virtual and in-person “Invest in Health: Get tested for TB & HIV” advocacy events planned.
World TB Day also serves as a reminder about the importance of the upcoming Seventh Replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria later this year. Donors, namely the world’s wealthiest nations, absolutely must meet or exceed the Fund’s $18 billion target so that the best funding mechanism we have for combatting infectious diseases has all it needs to continue protecting our most vulnerable populations.