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Leaders Warn of Deadly HIV, TB Collision

Rebecca Voelker
JAMA. 2008;300(5):491-492. doi:10.1001/jama.300.5.491.
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At a recent gathering of global health leaders at theUnited Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City, Margaret Chan, MD, described a chilling scenario. Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), told the group that drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis (TB) are on an increasingly deadly collision course with HIV infection.

“Earlier this year, WHO released a report indicating that multidrug-resistant TB has reached the highest levels ever recorded,” said Chan. “Even more ominous is the emergence of extensively drug-resistant TB [XDR-TB], which is virtually impossible to treat.” Chan said any further spread of XDR-TB would be a setback “of epic proportions” in global efforts to control the spread of TB and HIV.

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Medical experts warn that HIV infection and tuberculosis are synergistic conditions that heighten each other's morbidity and mortality.



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