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Science Speaks features thoughts, news and analysis from the staff of the IDSA Education and Research Foundation’s Center for Global Health Policy on the latest developments in tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.
The Need— and the Response
HIV and tuberculosis are the two most deadly infectious diseases worldwide, claiming the lives of nearly 10,000 people every day. Despite major advances in the treatment of HIV, the AIDS epidemic remains an unprecedented public health challenge, with an estimated 33 million people currently living with the virus and 2.7 million new HIV infections every year. And although scientists discovered a cure for TB more than five decades ago, TB continues to claim the lives of 1.8 million people annually. Today, one-third of the world’s population is infected with M. tuberculosis, and there were an estimated 9.4 million new TB cases in 2008.
Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people living with HIV around the world receiving life-saving antiretroviral therapy. But as a result of the worldwide recession, stagnant funding for global AIDS programs, and uncertain political commitment, HIV prevention and treatment scale up are now in jeopardy. To make matters worse, the progress made in saving lives from HIV is endangered by the escalating threat from TB, including virulent new drug-resistant strains of the disease.
In tandem HIV infection and TB create a deadly synergy. TB is the number one cause of death among people with HIV. And HIV/AIDS has reignited the TB epidemic across the developing world, including multidrug-resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB. In response, the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Education and Research Foundation established the Center for Global Health Policy in October of 2008.
The Center for Global Health Policy works to support and promote U.S. efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and TB around the world. The Center provides scientific and policy information to lawmakers, federal agencies, the administration, NGOs and the news media. The Center’s efforts aim to ensure that key decision-makers have access to solid, evidence-based input and guidance from IDSA/HIVMA physician-scientists and other professional colleagues from both developed and developing countries.
The Center disseminates reliable and comprehensive scientific information on HIV/AIDS and TB through its blog Science Speaks, issue briefs, project profiles, and meetings and interviews with U.S. policymakers, members of Congress and journalists. The Center organizes visits by U.S. policymakers to the research and program sites of IDSA/HIVMA members in developing countries. The Center also brings scientists from developing nations to the U.S. so they can give U.S. officials on-the-ground perspective of the importance of maintaining the worldwide progress against HIV and TB.
Leadership and Staffing
The Center’s work is overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee composed of leading physicians and scientists with expertise on global HIV and TB. The Center is led by Director Christine Lubinski. Center staff also includes Senior Communications Officer Antigone Barton, and Policy Research Coordinator Rabita Aziz.
The success of the Center depends on ongoing input, guidance, and involvement by IDSA/HIVMA physician-scientists and their professional colleagues from around the world.
To contact Science Speaks, please email Antigone Barton at firstname.lastname@example.org.