HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis

The HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis (HTH) programme regroups the former HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis programmes.

The Burden of HIV, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis in the AFRO Region

HIV: As of 2016, an estimated 25.6 million people in the AFRO Region are living with HIV, including 1.9 million children under the age of 15.  1.2 million new HIV infections occurred in the region in 2016 and there were 720,000 AIDS-related deaths – a 5% decrease from the 760,000 deaths in the region in 2015.  There has been a continued scaling-up of antiretroviral therapy throughout the region in 2016.  Currently, 13.8 million adults and children are receiving ART, which is a 15% increase in ART coverage in the region from 2015 and an 83% increase since 2012.

Tuberculosis: Of the 20 countries globally with the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB), 8 are located in the WHO African region.  Nearly 3 million of the 10.4 million people who contracted TB in 2015 live in sub-Saharan Africa, and 750,000 of these people died from the disease.  TB/HIV coinfection and multidrug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in particular pose challenges to prevention, treatment, and control in the AFRO region.  Of the 2.7 million Africans who fell ill with TB in 2015, 834,000 were also HIV positive, and 110,000 were cases of MDR-TB.

Hepatitis: Infection with hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D, and E accounted for 1.34 million deaths globally in 2015.  This is almost equal to the number of deaths from TB and greater than the number of deaths from HIV in the same year, and illustrates the burden of viral hepatitis as a global health issue.  In the AFRO region, over 70 million people are currently living with at least one form of viral hepatitis.  As of 2015, it is estimated that 6.1% of the population in the WHO African region has hepatitis B, and another 1% has hepatitis C.  Sub-Saharan Africa also accounts for 136,000 viral hepatitis deaths annually – 10% of the total global mortality from hepatitis.

About the programme

HIV: The goal of the HIV/AIDS unit of the HTH programme is to support Member States to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The HIV unit aids Member States to adopt and implement life-saving interventions to enhance cost-effective HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support to the 25.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the WHO African Region.  This includes prioritizing HIV prevention, expanding HIV testing services using diversified approaches and scaling up antiretroviral therapy by adopting innovative service delivery models while strengthening health systems in the context of universal access.

TB: The tuberculosis (TB) unit of the HTH programme seeks to reduce the burden of TB in the African region. More specifically, as outlined in the framework for implementing the End TB Strategy in the African Region (2016 – 2020) which supports the adaptation and implementation of the Global Strategy in countries based on their contextual circumstances, AFRO aims to reduce the number of TB deaths by 35%, the number of TB patients by 20% and attain 0% TB-affected families facing catastrophic costs due to TB.  The TB division also focuses intervention efforts on the specific issues of TB and HIV co-infection (accounting for 1/3 of TB deaths in the region) and the growing burden of multi-drug resistant TB

Hepatitis: The hepatitis unit of the HTH programme seeks to reduce the burden of viral hepatitis, caused by infection with the viruses A, B, C, D and E, and eliminate it as a major public health threat in the AFRO Region by 2030. In so doing, AFRO provides guidance and technical support to Member States in the Region to facilitate

The implementation of the first-ever Global Health Sector Strategy on viral hepatitis, which plans to eliminate hepatitis transmission globally using a framework of universal coverage.  The details of this strategy are outlined in the document Prevention, Care and Treatment of viral hepatitis in the African Region: Framework for action 2016–2020.

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For more information about the Programme please contact:

Dr. Hugues Lago
Team Leader HIV/Tuberculosis and Hepatitis Programme/Communicable Diseases Cluster
Email: lagoh [at] who.int