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Tuberculosis (TB), a formidable foe to global health for thousands of years, has joined forces with HIV, a relative new-kid on the block, and together the two have left a wake of destruction, destitution, and death in communities across the globe.
TB is now responsible for the deaths of 1 in 3 people with HIV, up from 1 in 4 just last year, and has been officially named the world's No. 1 infectious disease killer.
As advocates, we often like to use analogies to explain the scourge of pandemics like HIV: It's a runaway train with no conductor, a loaded gun in the hands of a madman, a tide that needs to be turned. The problem with analogies though is that they have a way of detracting from the overarching, inevitable truth: People are dying. Real people. By the end of 2012, there were 35.3 million people across the world living with HIV. Even more jarring is the fact that one third of those people also have tuberculosis, and many of them will die before they even know that they have it.