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Sunday 25th February 2018

AIDS, TB researchers don't talk

20th March 2007

Medical researchers into HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in African countries are failing to collaborate effectively, according to a recent report.


In January, HIV specialists from the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda, argued in an editorial in the British Medical Journal that gradually increasing access to antiretrovirals offered new opportunities for improving the control of tuberculosis—provided both research communities worked together.

But the two research communities are very different in character. Richard Chaisson, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, said there were serious differences to overcome, because HIV researchers saw TB researchers as dull and out of date, while TB researchers regarded HIV researchers as over-concerned with individuals instead of communities.

As HIV infection rates continue to rise and Africa witnesses the alarming spread of extensively drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB), the two research communities are failing to combine forces against what is effectively a dual epidemic in many parts of the developing world, according to the report in Nature Medicine, cited in the British Medical Journal.

Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among people infected with HIV, and in some African countries about 60% of people with tuberculosis are also HIV positive.

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