A Database Stems HIV in Central Asia

Maxim Kan was fed up. He had been painstakingly collecting data files for the previous USAID funded project, aimed at reducing the HIV and tuberculosis epidemics among key populations throughout Central Asia. But his database was outdated. As the Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor at PSI’s Central Asia Office, Maxim needed to conduct ongoing data

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Living with Tuberculosis: A Personal Note

The following post is by Bryn Sakagawa, Deputy Director, Health and Education Office, USAID Central Asian Republics. It originally appears on the USAID Impact blog.

World TB Day has a special meaning for me, and it is not just because of my job as a USAID Health Officer in Kazakhstan.  It is because every morning for the past four months I have taken a daily isoniazid pill to treat my latent tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious chronic bacterial infection that is spread through the air and usually infects the lungs. More than 2 billion people—one-third of the world’s total population—are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB, but do not show symptoms (latent TB). In the United States, between 10 and 15 million people are infected with latent TB. In other parts of the world, like in Central Asia, this number is much higher.

I found out that I had latent TB at the exam to get my first medical clearance as a foreign service officer. I suspect that I was exposed to TB while I was a volunteer in Indonesia years before. Although I was shocked and worried when I got the diagnosis, the nurse reassured me and explained that latent TB is widespread in many developing countries and that there are options for treatment. I was pregnant then so isoniazid treatment—what I’m taking now—was not an option.

I learned soon after I was diagnosed with latent TB that anyone—grandparents, fathers, mothers, and children—can be exposed and infected. In the three minutes that it will take you to read this blog post, nine people will have died from TB. Although my chance of becoming sick with active TB in my lifetime is only 1 in 10, I felt that it was important to mitigate this risk and undergo the six-month treatment regimen. Every year, approximately 2 million people die from TB.

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