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Editorial: Fighting HIV, TB

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Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV is a deadly disease, but at some stage curable. TB and HIV co-infection is when people have both, and also either latent or active TB disease. When someone has both HIV, and TB each disease speeds up the progress of the other. When people have a damaged immune system, such as people with HIV who are not receiving antiretroviral treatment, the natural history of TB is altered. Instead of there being a long latency phase between infection and development of disease, people with HIV can become ill with active TB disease within weeks to months, rather than the normal years to decades. TB is a contagious disease that can spread from person to person. TB is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The TB bacteria spread in their air as well. TB usually affects the lungs. But TB-causing bacteria can attack any part of the body, including the kidneys, spine, or brain. If not treated, TB can cause death. HIV also stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It harms your immune system by destroying the white blood cells that fight infection. This puts you at risk for serious infections and certain cancers. AIDS stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is the final stage of infection with HIV. This deadly disease most often spared through unprotected sex with an infected person. It may also spread by sharing drug needles or through contact with the blood of an infected person. Women can also give it to their babies during pregnancy or childbirth. There is no cure, but there are many medicines that fight HIV infection and lower the risk of infecting others. People who get early treatment can live with the disease for a longtime. In Afghanistan we are suffering from this deadly disease. To fight HIV, TB, and malaria diseases, the Global Fund, an international financing organization pledged $52 million in assistance to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). Deputy health minister, Dr. Ahmad Jan Naim said that this aid would help strengthen measure for prevention of malaria in different ways including distribution of mosquito nets. According to him, deaths from TB would decrease by 50 percent by controlling the disease and deaths from AIDS, malaria, pregnancy diseases would also reduce by improving the health system in Afghanistan in until 2021. Furthermore, he said that part of this donation would go to medicines to cure HIV/AIDS virus for more than 40,000 infected people. Moreover, providing more than four million mosquito nets and diagnosing 700,000 malaria cases as well as treating 158,000 TB patients is also part of program to be cured. Afghanistan has lots of problem in its medical system. However, we are making all out efforts to improving our health system, and one day will reach this goal.