The WHO HIV/AIDS and TB departments and their partners work collaboratively on joint HIV/TB advocacy, policy development and implementation of activities in countries. WHO also develops and promotes tools and guidelines to support countries in improving TB/HIV collaboration as part of Universal Access to HIV and TB prevention, care and treatment.
Sharing syringes when injecting drugs is one of the main ways people become infected with HIV in the Western Pacific Region. It is also the main way of becoming infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In fact, 50%–90% of HIV-infected injection drug users are also infected with hepatitis C. HCV infection is more serious in HIV-infected persons. It leads to liver damage more quickly. Co-infection with HCV may also affect the treatment of HIV infection. Therefore, it’s important for HIV-infected persons to know whether they are also infected with HCV and, if they aren’t, to take steps to prevent infection. Chronic hepatitis C can be treated successfully, even in HIV-infected persons, with a single drug or combination of two drugs. Treatment will usually take 6–12 months. Access to treatment for hepatitis C is hindered by the high cost of medicines. WHO is working with partners to assess the prevalence of co-infections in the Western Pacific Region, advocate for access to affordable treatment and develop guidance for prevention, care, support and treatment.