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Jakarta Post

Most HIV patients in Papua co-infected with TB

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura   /   Wed, April 24, 2013   /  03:11 pm

An official said Wednesday that around 60 percent of HIV-infected people in Papua are known to have also suffered from tuberculosis (TB) and that up to 40 percent of TB patients in the province are also HIV-positive.

Papua health agency head, Yosep Rinta, said in Jayapura that such a high number of HIV patients co-infected with TB was caused by a continuous decline of the strength of their immune system so that they were easily infected with the TB bacteria.

He said that many TB patients had never truly had a cure despite ongoing medical treatment and after a thorough examination, it was later found that they had contracted HIV.

Promiscuity or risky sexual behavior was the leading cause of high HIV prevalence in Papua. With a decline in the body'€™s immunity, they got TB infection easily, he went on.

'€œHIV patients can be co-infected with a wide vary of illnesses; yet, TB is the most common illness among HIV-positive people,'€ said Rinta as quoted by Antara news agency.

TB patients who are also HIV-positive will receive not only drugs commonly used to treat TB but also anti-retroviral (ARV) therapy to increase the strength of their immune system.

'€œHIV-infected patients must take the ARV drugs every day for the rest of their life,'€ said Rinta.

Unfortunately, only 2,091 out of 13,726 HIV-infected patients in Papua are taking the ARVs. (ebf)

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