Global burden of TB and the links with HIV
- Two billion people worldwide are infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). This is known as latent TB infection. Normally only about 10% of people with latent infection will go on to develop TB disease during their lifetime and mostly within two years of infection.
- At least one-third of the 38.6 million people living with HIV worldwide are also infected with TB and at greatly increased risk of developing TB disease.
- HIV weakens the immune system and makes it more likely that latent TB infection progresses to active TB disease. People living with HIV are up to 50 times more likely to develop TB disease over their lifetime people who are HIV negative.
- HIV also increases the chance of relapse in previously treated TB patients.
- The majority of cases of tuberculosis in people living with HIV occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 80% of TB patients may be co-infected with HIV.
- TB affects the entire community.
- Over the past 15 years the number of new cases of TB (TB incidence) has more than doubled in countries with high HIV prevalence.
- HIV/AIDS and TB are so closely connected that the term “co-epidemic” or “dual epidemic” is often used to describe their relationship, which is also referred to as TB/HIV or HIV/TB.
- Many people infected with HIV in developing countries develop TB as the first manifestation of AIDS. The two diseases represent a deadly combination, since they are far more destructive together than either disease alone.