Health

About HIV and Tuberculosis


WHAT WE DO

CRS has supported HIV projects for more than 25 years, almost since the beginning of the pandemic. Our programs address all areas of programming, including home-based care, antiretroviral therapy, treatment support, stigma reduction, prevention, and holistic services for vulnerable children. Globally, 37 projects in 22 countries include a focus on HIV, supporting more than 7 million people living with or affected by HIV. 

Tuberculosis (TB) is a preventable and curable disease that kills 1.5 million people each year. It is highly contagious, and early detection and treatment is critical to prevent spread of the disease. CRS programs focus on training community volunteers to screen for and treat TB, particularly where people often don’t have access to health services such as in remote, rural areas or in prisons.  Outreach teams target vulnerable groups such as prisoners, miners, and migrants. 

Because people living with HIV have weakened immune systems, they are highly susceptible to TB. Treating HIV and TB simultaneously is possible, but a principal challenge in fighting co-infection lies in the integration of services that have traditionally treated one illness or the other. Linking prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs brings benefits for patients, health care providers and health systems. CRS has been at the forefront of care for clients living with TB and HIV as well as for those co-infected with both.

 

HOW WE DO IT 

An AIDS-Free Generation: CRS HIV programs place special emphasis on eliminating  new infections in babies and children. We work to prevent HIV infection among women of reproductive age, while promoting counseling, testing and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. We promote option B+, the provision of lifelong antiretroviral  therapy to all pregnant and breastfeeding women living with HIV. CRS also provides HIV care, treatment and support for women and children living with HIV and their families.

  • Testing, diagnosis and treatment: CRS works with local partners, including faith-based and government run health facilities and community-based organizations to diagnose and treat both TB and HIV, prioritizing children and pregnant women. We help local governments to roll out and scale up integrated community-based services.  Providing support to communities is key to increasing case finding, adherence, reducing loss to follow up and improving viral load suppression.  

  • Integration: Collaborative TB/HIV interventions are essential to ensure that HIV-positive TB clients are identified and treated appropriately and that all TB patients are screened for HIV and linked with life-saving care and treatment.   We also work with people living with HIV to ensure TB is prevented, diagnosed and treated. CRS places a distinct focus on integration of TB and HIV interventions in order to reduce associated morbidity and mortality. 

  • Maximizing impact: CRS teams are active in operationalizing national recommendations, promoting adoption of global recommendations at the country level and evaluating outcomes of HIV, TB as well as TB/HIV integration activities.