Co-epidemic of HIV-TB Spreading in Africa, Undermining Global Control of World’s Two Deadliest Infectious Diseases Report Urges Research and Immediate Action to Thwart Co-epidemic As Threat of Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis/HIV Mounts WASHINGTON, DC (November 2, 2007)—The largely unnoticed collision of the global epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis (TB) has exploded to create a deadly co-epidemic that is rapidly spreading in sub-Saharan Africa. However, health systems cannot adequately diagnose, treat, or contain the co-epidemic due to unanswered scientific and medical questions, according to a report issued today by The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research and amplified by experts from leading global health organizations. Approximately one-third of the world’s 40 million people with HIV/AIDS are co-infected with TB, and the mortality rate for HIV-TB co-infection is five-fold higher than that for tuberculosis alone. This situation is made yet more urgent by the surging rates of multi-drug resistant TB in some areas with high HIV prevalence, according to the report. “Now the eye of the storm is in sub-Saharan Africa, where half of new TB cases are HIV coinfected, and where drug-resistant TB is silently spreading,” said Veronica Miller, coauthor of the report and director of The Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, a global independent public-private partnership comprised of researchers, patient advocates, and government and industry representatives. “Unlike bird flu, the global threat of HIV/TB is not hypothetical. It is here now. But the science and coordination needed to stop it are utterly insufficient.” First detected 23 years ago, HIV-TB now affects nearly one-third of the 40 million people infected with HIV. Without proper treatment, 90 percent of people living with HIV die within months of contracting TB. The new report, titled “HIV-TB Co-Infection: Meeting the Challenge,” is based on a symposium and roundtable discussion held in Sydney, Australia, during the International Aids Society (IAS) conference in July 2007. Along with the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research, many of the world’s leading global health organizations co-sponsored these events, including the Agence Nationale de Recherches sur le Sida et les Hépatites Virales (ANRS) in France, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CREATE (Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS-TB Epidemic), the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), the International AIDS Society, Tibotec, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) TB/HIV Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership. The rapid spread of HIV-TB is due to the geography and biology of co-infection. One-third of the global population—approximately two billion people—are infected with TB. But in the vast majority of those infected, the disease is latent, walled off by the body’s immune system.