The 2014 Global Report on Tuberculosis (TB) revealed a harsh truth about our fight against this contagious disease: the problem is worse than we imagined. As more countries invest in understanding the spread of TB within their borders, the scale of the TB epidemic is becoming clearer. What we’re learning demands aggressive, immediate action.
TB is one of the world’s deadliest communicable diseases. More than 9 million people develop TB annually and 1.5 million die from the disease. Worldwide, MDR- and XDR-TB are transmitted unabated. Thousands of patients languish on waiting lists to receive effective treatment. This is unacceptable. And yet, public understanding of TB is limited and conversations around the importance of TB research and implementation often remain isolated.
It is important to convey to a wider audience that fighting TB with our current tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment is not enough. To effectively address the epidemic, we must invest in new science and broaden the conversation to a wider community.
In recognition of the need for greater attention to the global TB epidemic, the International AIDS Society (IAS) organized TB2016 -- A two-day conference dedicated exclusively to this infectious disease immediately preceding AIDS 2016 in Durban, South Africa.
TB2016 comprised key components of policy, basic and implementation science, community engagement and advocacy, all crucial elements for advancing the global TB response. The objectives included:p>
- Galvanizing political leadership and commitment to end TB by 2035 through intensified implementation and identifying and inspiring the future generation of TB activists and leaders
- Bringing together experts to advance knowledge and innovation about TB across the continuum of prevention, diagnosis and care, present new research findings; debate controversies; and promote and enhance scientific and community collaboration
- Promoting and sharing best practices and aspirations to reinvigorate and expand the global TB response to address the challenges and global security threat of multi-drug resistant TB
Science + Solidarity
Several TB meetings are planned in 2016. The 46th Union World Conference on Lung Health; significant for frontline TB clinicians and those involved in TB control programmes. The Keystone Symposium on Tuberculosis Co-Morbidities and Immunopathogenesis catering primarily basic scientists. TB2016 was an opportunity to address the overlap of these communities and the broader world of infectious disease clinicians and researchers who, while not identifying as such, still play key roles as TB providers.
By hosting TB2016 in advance of AIDS 2016, the IAS was able to leverage the political and media attention around each International AIDS Conference for the fight against TB. AIDS 2016 drew 20 000 participants, over 1 000 journalists, and significant high-level participation from around the world to Durban – the global epicenter of the TB-HIV pandemic.
But attention isn’t enough. TB2016 brought the latest scientific discoveries in TB to its audience for active discussion. By engaging researchers, advocates and policy makers the conference informed the agenda for basic and clinical research as well as programme implementation in TB. TB2016 translated the latest evidence of best practice in clinical care and inspired the next generation of TB researchers, activists and leaders.
TB2016 was a signal to both the HIV and TB communities that our causes are inextricably linked and that success happens together. This meeting seeked to join TB and HIV civil society around common messaging and platforms amplifiing the importance of multi-disease focused policy and advocacy initiatives.
Download the TB2016 overview here