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Tuberculosis (TB), Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and Malaria

Tuberculosis (TB)

Background

TB is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect organs in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system among others.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and tuberculosis (TB) are so closely connected that their relationship is often described as a co-epidemic. In the last 15 years the number of new TB cases has more than doubled in countries where the number of HIV infections is also high.

TB and HIV facts

  • The two diseases are a deadly combination; they are far more destructive together than either disease alone
  • In developing countries many people infected with HIV contract TB as the first sign of AIDS
  • At least one-third of the 38.6 million HIV-positive people in the world are also infected with TB and are at greatly increased risk of developing TB disease (the active and contagious form of TB)
  • TB is the leading cause of illness and death among people living with HIV in Africa and a major cause of death in HIV-positive people living elsewhere. In some settings, TB kills up to half of all AIDS patients

Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s)

Background

A Sexually Transmissible Infection (STI) is an infection that can be passed on through vaginal, anal or oral sex.  Most STI’s are transmitted through the exchange of sexual fluids, but some can be passed on through skin to skin genital contact.

STI’s can cause a wide range of health problems, from mild irritations to more serious illness. Pregnant women with a STI can pass it on to their unborn children. Some STIs are easily cured with antibiotics if detected early, but can cause long-term problems if left untreated. While some STI’s cannot be cured, treatments can help to ease the symptoms.

Many people with a STI do not know they have the infection, because they have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they can include:

  • Unusual discharge or itchiness around the genitals
  • Burning feeling when having a pee
  • Rash, sore or small lumps in the genital area
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina, after sex or in between periods
  • Pain and swelling in the testicle

If you notice any of these symptoms or have had sex without a condom it is important to go to, a Doctor, Family Planning Clinic or your local clinic to get a sexual health check.

STI’s and HIV

Individuals who are infected with STDs are at least two to five times more likely than uninfected individuals to acquire HIV infection if they are exposed to the virus through sexual contact. In addition, if an HIV-infected individual is also infected with another STD, that person is more likely to transmit HIV through sexual contact than other HIV-infected persons (Wasserheit, 1992). For more information click on http://www.cdc.gov/std/hiv/stdfact-std-hiv.htm

Zoë-Life’s Role in TB and STI

Zoë-life has committed to integrating STI and TB screening into all our programmes. TB Screening, counselling, supervised referrals and strengthening of referral systems are part of the integrated offerings that Zoë-Life weaves into all of our trainings, tools and interventions. STI management and counselling is key to reducing HIV transmission. Again, this is interwoven into training courses and support interventions.

Malaria

Background

Malaria is a potentially fatal blood disease caused by a parasite transmitted to humans and animal hosts by the Anopheles mosquito.
Malaria kills over one million people each year, most of whom are children under 5, and almost 90% of whom live in Africa, south of the Sahara. Malaria is responsible for one out of every four childhood deaths in Africa.

Zoë-Life’s role

Zoë-Life has been contracted by the Clinton Foundation for 3 years to develop a Malaria Diagnosis and Treatment training course and work-aid for the Swaziland Ministry of Health as well as for the Tanzanian Government (Zanzibar)