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HIV Treatment with Prevention and Treatment for Lung Diseases Could Save Millions of Lives

Note: World Lung Foundation united with The Union North America. From January 2016, the combined organization is known as “Vital Strategies.”

(New York, NY) – On World AIDS Day, World Lung Foundation (WLF) urged governments and the global health community to take steps toward more systematic integration of the treatment and care for lung disease among patients with HIV/AIDS:

Neil Schluger, Chief Scientific Officer at WLF said, “Millions die because lung disease and AIDS are not effectively linked in HIV treatment even though lung disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with HIV infections.

The first step is broad recognition that AIDS is inextricably linked to lung disease. While continuing to invest in anti-retroviral drugs to treat people with HIV/AIDS, the global health community must also direct new investment toward badly needed new diagnosis techniques for lung diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia. These diseases are ten times more common in HIV patients than in patients without HIV infection.

Tuberculosis, for example is most often diagnosed using a test that is over 100 years old, and which misses more than half the patients with the disease. New molecular based technologies are promising but are hardly used because of financial and technical barriers. Antibiotic development has slowed to a crawl for all lung infections because there is little economic incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to invest.

Governments and the global health, medical, pharmaceutical and philanthropic communities must do better. Our ability to integrate diagnosis and treatment for AIDS and lung diseases will prolong and save millions of lives.”