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AIDS: We’re making inroads against AIDS, TB

Letter by Donna M. Schindler Munro, Bremerton on March 6, 2013 at 1:07 pm with No Comments »
March 6, 2013 1:19 pm

The article regarding that Mississippi baby born with HIV but subsequently appearing cured is certainly exciting news (TNT, 3-5). Prevention, of course, is a tool we already have.

The most cost-effective HIV preventions are mother-to-child transmission intervention and male circumcision. Globally, one in every seven HIV infections occur when a mother passes the virus on to her child.

We know that early AIDS treatment reduces the occurrence of tuberculosis infection by 84 percent. This is critical, since TB is the biggest killer of people with HIV.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has accomplished amazing inroads on these three diseases of poverty in its 10-year existence and operates on just 4.8 percent overhead. But the fund needs support, and multiple drug-resistant TB cases are increasing worldwide because of ineffective treatment.

About 200 such cases now appear annually in the U.S., costing about $50,000 to $500,000 to treat each case. These MDR-TB infection strains can be spread to others by a person breathing the same air, as on an airplane.

Globally it costs just $20 to treat 95 percent of TB cases. For the first time ever, we can see the end of AIDS if we act now. Our entire international development aid, of which the fund is part, amounts to less that one fourth of one penny for every dollar of our national income.

Our insane across-the-board sequestration budget cuts are short-sighted in the extreme. We need to support the Global Fund.

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