March is TB awareness month and today is World TB Day, but despite being the number one killer in South Africa (pneumonia is 2nd and HIV is 3rd), it’s still not getting nearly as much attention it probably should. It is treatable and curable, even if you are HIV-positive, but so many are still falling victim to this bacterial infection. On the upside, between 2000 and 2015, an estimated 49 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment.
Common symptoms of active lung TB are a persistent cough that lasts more than two weeks (with sputum and blood at times), chest pains, weakness, unexplained weight loss, fever that lasts for longer than 14 days, and night sweats. If you are HIV-positive and you have a cough you should go immediately to your closest local clinic.
According to the WHO Global TB Report 2016‚ South Africa reported 454‚000 new TB cases in 2015‚ making it the country with the 6th highest incidence of TB in the world – surpassed by India‚ Indonesia‚ China‚ Pakistan and Nigeria. Of the 454‚000 reported cases‚ an estimated 60-73% are co-infected with HIV.
The spread of TB can be prevented by covering your nose and mouth when sneezing; by coughing into your elbow; by ensuring your house is properly ventilated; by living a healthy lifestyle‚ with regular exercise as well as following a balanced diet. The City of Johannesburg (CoJ) is intensifying awareness and screening campaigns in all wards‚ and providing TB treatment to infected individuals. This year the CoJ says residents can go for TB and HIV screening for free at all the metro’s clinics until the end of April 2017.
UNITE AGAINST TB