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Factsheets

GeneXpert = Saving Lives from TB-HIV

The most common TB diagnostic is more than 130 years old and fails to detect the disease in many people living with HIV. GeneXpert is a new technology endorsed by the World Health Organization that can detect TB in people living with HIV.

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The TB Epidemic

Many people think tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of the past, but in reality, over 2 billion people are currently infected with TB bacteria - roughly one-third of the world's population. One in ten people will become sick with active TB. In 2010 alone, TB killed 1.5 million people, which amounted to approximately 3,800 deaths per day.

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TB Signs and Symptoms

TB usually occurs in the lungs, but it can also occur in other parts of the body, such as the brain, kidneys, or spine. This fact sheet outlines the symptoms of TB in the lungs, general symptoms of TB, and signs that you should get tested.

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Drug-Resistant TB

Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is a dangerous form of TB that is resistant to the two most powerful anti-TB drugs. Ineffective treatment of MDR-TB gives rise to extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). Resistant to a number of critical first and second-line anti-TB drugs, XDR-TB is extremely difficult and costly to treat and is highly fatal.

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TB-HIV Co-Infection

TB is the leading killer of people with HIV/AIDS. One in four deaths among people with HIV is due to TB. Unlike HIV/AIDS, TB is completely curable in the vast majority of cases, with medicines that cost as little as $20, as long as treatment regimens are monitored and completed in order to avoid building up of drug resistance.

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TB and Poverty

TB disproportionately affects the poor. Nearly 9 million people develop active TB disease each year - and an overwhelming 95% of these cases occur in developing countries. Low-income populations often lack access to health-care facilities and treatment and prevention options, which delays the diagnosis of TB by several weeks or months. Poor nutrition and co-infection with other diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, can lead to the development of active TB. Crowded living conditions, poor ventilation, and lack of access to clean water and sanitation all contribute to an increased susceptibility to TB.

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