WWR: Tuberculosis, HIV, and Children

By Jane Coaston | March 30, 2012

This past Saturday, we observed World TB Day, which promotes awareness for a disease that still kills millions, and leaves many more permanently disabled. 

In sub-Saharan Africa, tuberculosis is also often linked with HIV, and is a special concern for women and children. TB infection increases the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and is particularly dangerous to children already living with HIV.

Over the past week, we gathered the following news items and blogs highlighting the relationship between TB and HIV, and what people are doing to better prevent, diagnose, and treat TB in children.

USAID IMPACT Blog: Achieving an HIV and TB-Free Generation: Dr. Serge Agbo, the Foundation’s Technical Officer for TB/HIV integration, writes about the importance of integrating TB services in maternal and child health care, particularly in programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV.

World Health Organization: "Childhood tuberculosis neglected, despite available remedies": Children often remain undiagnosed because of a lack of access to TB services or lack of trained healthcare workers. The WHO and Stop TB Partnership issued a new resource to help improve pediatric TB prevention and treatment: "No more crying, no more dying: towards zero TB deaths in children."

IRIN PlusNews:  "Childhood tuberculosis a “hidden epidemic”":Children are often neglected when it comes to diagnosing TB, even though each year at least 500,000 babies and children become infected with TB worldwide, and an estimated 70,000 die of it, according to the WHO. This article explores the diagnostic challenges for children with TB in Kenya.

IRIN PlusNews: "South Africa: Children with TB below the health radar": The TB infection rate in South Africa is the second-highest in the world, and pediatric TB is a growing problem. This article quotes Dr. Anneke Hesseling of the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University – who is also a Foundation International Leadership Awardee – about current research into pediatric TB, and the challenges facing clinicians hoping to develop new treatments for use in children.

Associated Press: "Advanced TB vaccine trials near completion in South Africa, global research drive launched": 2013 should mark the end of the first clinical trials for a TB vaccine. In this article, researchers say that even if the trials do not result in a vaccine, the knowledge gained about tuberculosis and how it spreads will make the trials worthwhile.

Jane Coaston is Media Relations Coordinator for the Foundation in Washington, DC.