21 July 2009

Enhanced HIV/TB Collaboration

"There is clearly much broader support for collaborative TB/HIV programming, research and advocacy than ever before," said International AIDS Society Governing Council member Diane Havlir, speaking at a two-day pre-meeting entitled, Catalysing HIV/TB Research: Innovation, Funding, and Networking held just before the start of IAS 2009. Dr. Havlir is Chief of the HIV/AIDS Division and Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and a member of the World Health Organization's (WHO) STOP TB Partnership.

The meeting highlighted promising research on improved TB diagnosis, and exciting news on the first new TB vaccine trial begun recently in South Africa. At the same time, participants emphasized that the extremely limited access to a point of care TB diagnostic (dipstick TB test) is undermining efforts to stop TB and represents the single most important research priority today.

Discussion emphasized the importance of looking beyond health facilities, and engaging a broader network of community actors, in both HIV and TB strategies. A more customer-oriented approach to both diseases is crucial to addressing the needs of those who have undiagnosed HIV and TB, in addition to providing services for those already diagnosed.

More than 200 people living with HIV, activists, and researchers, including NIAID Director Anthony Fauci and Nobel Laureate Françoise Barrè-Sinoussi of the Institut Pasteur, participated in the meeting. It was organized by WHO and the HIV/TB Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership in collaboration with the IAS, the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic, Treatment Action Group and the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre.

Presentations from the meeting will be available online by the WHO Stop TB Partnership. For more information, please contact Dr. Haileyesus Getahun (getahunh@who.int).

The meeting agenda is available here.

Science Speaks blog report on the meeting.

Presentations from IAS/WHO satellite session on HIV/TB Research: Where Do We Stand and What Are the Priorities?

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