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WHO Report: Tuberculosis leads to as many Deaths as AIDS

Update Date: Oct 28, 2015 02:28 PM EDT
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Tuberculosis leads to as many deaths as HIV/AIDS, according to a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the report, experts found that in 2014, TB was responsible for 1.1 million deaths. During that same time frame, HIV/AIDS killed 1.2 million people. The data included 400,000 deaths in people who were diagnosed with both TB and HIV.

The report covered 205 nations and territories. It examined data on all variables related to TB, which included drug-resistant forms, funding and more. In terms of the numbers, there were 9.6 million new reported cases of TB in 2014.

This is the first time in history that TB infections have almost leveled out with HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death grouped under infectious diseases. Dr. Mario Raviglione, who directs the WHO TB program, noted that the report shows how much progress science and medicine have made with regards to treating HIV/AID.

"The good news is that TB intervention has saved some 43 million lives since 2000," Dr. Raviglione said to Reuters in a phone interview. He added, however that more should be done to lower the number of TB-caused deaths because the current rate is "unacceptably high."

In the news release for the report, Dr. Raviglione said, "Despite the gains, the progress made against TB is far from sufficient. We are still facing a burden of 4 400 people dying every day, which is unacceptable in an era when you can diagnose and cure nearly every person with TB."

One of the main issues, according to Dr. Raviglione, is the disparity in funding between the two infectious diseases. He noted that international funding for HIV/AIDS is about $8 billion whereas funding for TB is very limited at $800,000.

"A primary reason for detection and treatment gaps is a major shortfall in funding," Dr. Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV, TB, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, added.

WHO's Global Tuberculosis Report 2015 was released on Wednesday.

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