Dear Minister Carr,
Following on from World TB Day on March 24, we call on you to increase Australia’s international aid investments to realise a world without TB.
Every day 4,500 people die from tuberculosis (TB); that's 1.7 million men, women and children every year.
TB is preventable, treatable and curable, but we need to get more people tested and provided with the right medicines. That won’t happen if TB remains a low priority for Governments and decision makers around the world.
TB is also the leading killer of people living with HIV and accounts for one in four AIDS-related deaths. Yet less than 7% of people living with HIV are even tested for TB. Something needs to change.
We are living in a time of unprecedented hope for people living with HIV. As antiretroviral treatment becomes more widely available, people living with the virus are more likely able to lead full and productive lives and contribute to their families and communities.
Our aid is helping people to live with HIV. Let’s not lose them to TB.
As one of your first acts as Foreign Minister, we call on you to ensure that the critical issue of TB/HIV co-infection is on the government’s agenda and that Australian aid programs focus on better integration of TB and HIV services. We also call on you to increase overall financing to stop these killer diseases
Research shows that just by scaling up methods that are already available we can save a million lives among people living with HIV by 2015.
Together we can save lives. We can STOP TB.
We hope we can count on your leadership and support.