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Efforts To End AIDS Could Also Reduce TB Burden With Proper Funding

In response to Michael Gerson’s November 11 column in which he said the end of AIDS is possible because of combination prevention and treatment innovations, David Bryden, the Stop TB advocacy officer at RESULTS, writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor, “Another benefit of [HIV] treatment is that it sharply reduces deaths from tuberculosis [TB], which is the primary killer of people living with HIV/AIDS.” He says that “to fully succeed in Africa, where TB and HIV/AIDS are often two sides of the same coin, we have to quickly identify people who have TB or who are vulnerable to it and get them the services they need,” which also means developing an accurate quick test for the disease.

Bryden continues, “Fortunately, research is proceeding on such a test, and U.S.-backed programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund are saving countless lives affected by both AIDS and TB. But we face a historic choice. Do we stall or even cut these programs to achieve a relatively tiny budget savings, as proposed in the House of Representatives, or do we push boldly forward? The answer is clear: We must seize this moment” (11/16).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.