Turning the Corner on HIV and Tuberculosis Co-infection in Brazil

AIDSTAR-One is funded by USAID’s Office of HIV/AIDS. The project provides technical assistance to USAID and U.S. Government country teams to build effective, well-managed, and sustainable HIV and AIDS programs.

HIV and tuberculosis (TB) affect millions of people worldwide every year. Eighty percent of the world’s cases of HIV are concentrated in the 22 countries—including Brazil—with the largest TB epidemics. Without precise and sustained treatment, HIV and TB can become a deadly combination for men, women, and children.

A Patient
A patient at the CECAP Clinic in São Paulo receives his TB medication from his doctor. Photo Credit: Ed Scholl, JSI

Adolescents like 17-year old Silvia (name has been changed) from São Paulo need access to medical services to treat both TB and HIV. I met Silvia last November, when she came to a clinic to seek medical care for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR TB)—a dangerous form of TB that requires special medical care and treatment.

With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which provides support to medical clinics throughout Brazil for TB and HIV services, Silvia is receiving the care she needs to lead a full, healthy life.

This poster promotes a USAID/Brazil-funded communication campaign to de-stigmatize TB and encourage people to be tested. Photo Credit: Ed Scholl, JSI

Patients like Silvia take their medications under the careful monitoring of a health care worker through a treatment process called Directly Observed Therapy Short course (DOTS). DOTS is now standard for all forms of TB and requires patients to accurately and consistently take combination treatments, often for at least six months. This kind of supervision is critically important, since a patient who misses a dose is at risk of developing MDR TB.

To respond to TB and HIV in Brazil, USAID has partnered with the Brazilian Ministry of Health to improve early TB detection, increase HIV counseling and testing, and provide medical treatment for both infections.

With U.S. support, Brazil is building public awareness and promoting anti-stigma media campaigns to encourage more people to get tested for HIV and TB and, if positive, seek treatment. AIDSTAR-One, a USAID-funded project, is also conducting outreach in Brazilian prisons, which are often at high risk of TB and HIV epidemics.

Through partnerships like USAID and AIDSTAR-One, we can effectively fight TB and HIV across Brazil and Latin America, to improve the health of countless people and ultimately save lives.

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