“Yes! We Can End TB,” says AHF Philippines


Manila, Philippines (March 24, 2024) As the world observes World Tuberculosis Day, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Philippines remains steadfast in its commitment to combating tuberculosis (TB) among people living with HIV (PLHIV). With a focus on newly diagnosed PLHIV, AHF Philippines has been at the forefront of efforts to mitigate the impact of TB in this vulnerable population.

Recent data from the Department of Health (DOH) unveils an alarming rise in TB cases in the Philippines. Over the past year, TB cases, including new and relapse cases, have surged to a staggering 612,534. Globally, TB remains a formidable threat, claiming the lives of 1.3 million individuals in 2022 alone, among them 167,000 people living with HIV. The World Health Organization’s latest report highlights nearly 11 million TB cases worldwide, underscoring the urgency of addressing this persistent health crisis. Moreover, the prevalence of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) continues to present a significant challenge, with only approximately 2 in 5 individuals accessing treatment in 2022.

At the core of AHF’s Philippines strategy is the implementation of a new cutting-edge TB diagnostic tool designed specifically for newly diagnosed PLHIV. This innovative tool aims to provide early and accurate detection of TB in this high-risk group, leading to prompt interventions and improved outcomes for individuals co-infected with HIV and TB.

AHF Philippines’ approach to combating TB among newly diagnosed PLHIV is comprehensive and multifaceted. From screening and early detection to treatment and ongoing care, the organization’s strategy prioritizes the health and well-being of those affected by these dual epidemics.

The organization also advocates for the adoption of BPaL, an all-oral combination therapy for TB treatment, and the use of TB Lam by Abbott for early diagnosis. BPaL, comprising Bedaquiline (B), Pretomanid (Pa), and Linezolid (L), boasts a remarkable 90 percent efficacy against highly drug- resistant TB strains. TB Lam, a rapid diagnostic test utilizing urine samples, provides results within 25 minutes, facilitating early treatment initiation, particularly in resource-limited settings.

AHF’s Philippines in collaboration with its partner sites has a dedicated team of healthcare professionals and support staff who work tirelessly to ensure that PLHIV receive timely TB screenings, access to state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, and personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs. Through ongoing education and advocacy efforts, AHF Philippines strives to raise awareness about the intersection of HIV and TB and the importance of integrated care for individuals facing these complex health challenges.

Nenet L. Ortega, Country Manager of AHF Philippines, underscores the pivotal role of integrated care, stating, “We are unwavering in our commitment to ensuring that PLHIV receive timely TB screenings and personalized treatment plans.”

On this World Tuberculosis Day, AHF Philippines reaffirms its unwavering commitment to ending the TB epidemic among PLHIV and promoting health equity for all. Together, we can build a world where every individual has the opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life, free from the burden of TB and HIV.

World TB Day is recognized annually on March 24. Visit WeCanEndTB.org to learn more.

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