GENEVA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Five countries have already met and 18 more are on track to meet the UN target of reducing tuberculosis (TB) deaths among people living with HIV by 75 percent by 2020, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a report published here on Friday.
However, most countries are lagging behind and risk missing the target completely, according to the report.
The target was outlined in the 2016 UN Political Declaration on Ending AIDS. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), by 2017 five low or middle-income countries -- India, Eritrea, Djibouti, Malawi and Togo -- had achieved or exceeded the target three years ahead of schedule.
A further 18 countries had also reduced TB deaths among people living with HIV by more than 50 percent and are on track to achieve the target by the end of 2020, provided that scale-up of services is maintained, UNAIDS said.
However, estimates also show that most countries are not on track and that the number of deaths is rising in certain regions and countries. Around 40 countries registered an increase in the number of TB deaths among people living with HIV between 2010 and 2017.
In eastern Europe and central Asia, the number of TB deaths among people living with HIV increased by 22 percent between 2010 and 2017, with increases being seen in all but three countries in the region. In Latin America, the number of deaths rose by seven percent.
The lack of progress in some countries is a clear indication that further efforts are needed to address the main challenges, including the need for equity and ensuring that vulnerable groups have access to integrated HIV and TB services, UNAIDS said.
To meet the UN target, UNAIDS urges countries to fully integrate TB and HIV services and to use community-based approaches to find, diagnose and treat the missing cases.
Measures include screening all people living with HIV for TB, and testing all people with TB for HIV. The quality of TB and HIV diagnoses also needs to be improved. HIV and TB prevention efforts need scaling up, particularly for people at higher risk of infection. In addition, all people diagnosed with TB and HIV need immediate access to treatment and support to adhere to their treatment regimens.
According to UNAIDS and WHO statistics, TB is the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming around 4,400 lives a day. TB also remains the leading cause of death among people living with HIV, causing one in three AIDS-related deaths. In 2017, 1.6 million people died from TB, including around 300,000 living with HIV.