Among the most vulnerable to coronavirus: The tens of millions who carry HIV and tuberculosis
HIV and tuberculosis are present almost everywhere around the globe. Tuberculosis has spread in recurring pandemics for hundreds of years, killing at its peak in the 19th century an estimated quarter of Europe’s population. More than 1 million still die of tuberculosis each year. HIV reached pandemic stage in the 1980s and has killed at least 32 million people. Around 40 million people currently live with HIV.
Experts expect covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, to affect carriers of HIV and tuberculosis disproportionately, and border closures and crowded hospitals may make getting treatment harder.
South Africa is a simultaneous epicenter of all three pandemics. The country is home to 20 percent of the world’s tuberculosis cases, as well as 20 percent of the world’s HIV-positive population — nearly 8 million people — and has the largest confirmed covid-19 count in Africa, at more than 1,700.
“We are preparing for the worst,” said Salim Abdool Karim, a South African infectious-disease specialist who is on the country’s presidential coronavirus task force.
[Source: Washington Post]