The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibé, was in Brazil promoting greater awareness of the interlinked epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis, the need for universal access to HIV services for all people in need, and the necessity to address stigma and discrimination in Brazils response to HIV.
On March 24, 2009 in Rio de Janeiro, Mr Sidibé joined the international launch of the World Health Organizations (WHO) annual report on global TB control.
Although it is mostly preventable and curable, tuberculosis (TB) is one of the leading causes of death among people living with HIV globally. Of the 33 million people who are living with HIV, only 20% of know their status, and only a tiny fraction, 2% in 2007, were screened for TB according to the Global TB Control 2009 report.
"We have to stop people living with HIV from dying of tuberculosis. Universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support must include TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment. When HIV and TB services are combined, they save lives," said Mr Sidibé.