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Tuberculosis Outranks HIV/AIDS as Leading Cause of Death Globally

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Published on : Oct 29, 2015

Even though the number of deaths caused by tuberculosis worldwide has gone down by almost half, cases that are poorly managed or remain undiagnosed have led the disease to beat HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death across the globe. 

In the year 2014, around 1.5 million people died from tuberculosis, overriding the 1.2 million deaths caused by HIV/AIDS worldwide. This also includes the 400,000 who were suffering from both TB and HIV.

This outranking of TB over HIV/AIDS comes despite the fact that incidences of tuberculosis around the world have gone down by 18 per cent till date, dropped by a 1.5 per cent rate per year since 2000.

Director of the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Program Dr. Mario Raviglione said in a press release that in spite of the gains, the progress made to battle tuberculosis is still not sufficient. 

There have been consistent efforts to encourage effective diagnosis and compliance to treatment, which has saved the lives of over 40 million people since 2000. And this has been possible due to the setting up of the Millennium Development Goals. 

However, even though these efforts and improvements are worth mentioning, Dr. Raviglione warns health care providers and workers that tuberculosis is still a major global concern. There is still a burden of at least 4,400 people dying from TB every day. Since most patients suffering from this disease can be effectively diagnosed and cured, this figure is unacceptable in this age of modern health care. 

Director General of the World Health Organization Margaret Chan said that the advances in tackling tuberculosis have been truly remarkable. However, if the aim of this fight is to end the epidemic of TB, the world needs to step up its services and invest critically in research