02 March, 2012 | Geneva, Switzerland
Following on from the success of the Interim Policy published in 2004, WHO has today launched its revised policy on collaborative TB/HIV activities. The new policy is based on the latest scientific evidence generated from randomized controlled trials and observational studies in the field of TB and HIV and country experiences implementing the Interim Policy.
The Interim policy provided a highly effective framework for implementing partners and donors to focus their resources. More than 100 countries fully adopted the Interim Policy, measured by HIV testing of at least half of TB patients identified and it is estimated that 910,000 lives have been saved globally. The increased uptake of the interim policy has resulted in more than 60% of the total number of TB patients estimated to have HIV were diagnosed and registered in HIV care in 2010, compared with less than 15% in 2005. TB screening among people living with HIV increased 12-fold from 200 000 in 2005 to 2.3 million in 2010. The number of people living with HIV without active TB receiving isoniazid-preventive therapy increased from 26 000 in 2005 to 180 000 in 2010.
The new policy emphasises the importance of establishing mechanisms for the delivery of integrated TB and HIV services at the same place and time, as well as promoting integration within other health programmes such as maternal and child health and harm reduction services. The update is a compilation of existing WHO guidelines for addressing HIV-related TB. It also includes extensive reviews of the evidence on key questions such as the benefits of HIV testing in patients with presumptive or diagnosed TB, and their partners and families; co-trimoxazole preventive therapy for TB patients living with HIV; earlier initiation of ART at CD4 count higher than 350 cells/mm3 for TB prevention; and models of integrated TB and HIV services.
Implementation of this revised Policy will enable us to make major advances in our efforts to overcome HIV and TB epidemics as set out in the Global Plan to Stop TB and the Global health sector strategy on HIV/AIDS, 2011-2015.
The 2012 WHO Policy on collaborative TB/HIV activities is now available at the following link: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2012/tb_hiv_guide_20120302/en/index.html