An international delegation of HIV-TB doctors, researchers and public health experts submitted a memorandum to Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan for stronger action to accelerate progress towards eliminating AIDS and Tuberculosis (TB) as well as preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The AIDS Society of India (ASI) delegation led by Ishwar Gilada, ASI president and Governing Council member of International AIDS Society (IAS) met the Governor at Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday.
The ASI offered its complete support to help assist the Telangana State in delivering on the goals set by Indian Government to end TB and NCDs by 2025. Over 70% of deaths were due to NCDs, the delegation said.
The ASI memorandum noted that every person living with HIV in Telangana should know his/her status, receive life-saving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and have viral load suppression (100%). With effective HIV prevention (zero new cases of HIV), Telangana would advance towards ending AIDS by 2030.
As every case of active TB disease comes from the latent TB pool – 40% of population is estimated to have latent TB – the delegation appealed to the State to accelerate progress on preventing TB too so that no one would be left behind.
The members said though 40% of the population was estimated to have latent TB, immune suppression would increase the risk of active disease. Thus, addressing malnutrition, diabetes, HIV, tobacco etc., would help prevent this progression.
The delegation advocated that the government boost infection control in hospitals, communities and homes to cut the chain of TB transmission. Tobacco use would increase the risk of TB and NCDs such as diabetes. Every tobacco-related disease and premature death is preventable. If the State implemented the WHO-recommended tobacco-control strategies effectively, Telangana could become tobacco-free.
The WHO recommended measures should be scaled up across the State for every citizen to reduce the risk of preventable NCDs, the delegation said.
The prominent delegates with Dr. Gilada included Erlina Burhan, head of MDR-TB, Persahabatan Hospital in Indonesia and member Board of Directors of International Union against TB and Lung Disease; Nesri Padayatchi, deputy director, Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA); Surya Kant, professor and head of Department of Respiratory Medicine, King George’s Medical University (KGMU); Anand Maurya from AIIMS, Bhopal; Shobha Shukla, executive director of CNS and coordinator of Asia Pacific Regional Media Network to end TB and tobacco and prevent NCDS; and Bobby Ramakant.