A campaign to convert Latin American countries to do more to tackle a problem which is the leading cause of death in AIDS and yet is poorly understood, often misdiagnosed and often left untreated has been launched.
New campaign launches to alert South American countries of deadly cause of AIDS deaths
Experts from GAFFI (Global Action Fund for fungous Infections) believe more than 80,000 AIDS deaths worldwide can be attributed to histoplasmosis, an mobile infection which is related primarily to bat and bird falling exposure in soil. They want the deadly fungous illness adopted as a priority by key public health agencies and have today sent out an open letter to every pan American health organisation.
It stresses that if the UNAIDS target of reducing AIDS deaths to under 500,000 is to be achieved, action inevitably to be taken now on tackling histoplasmosis.
GAFFI's President is Dr David Denning who is prof of Infectious Diseases in Global Health at The University of Manchester. He wants lesser awareness of the deadly illness and more reliable and practical tests made available in those countries most affected.
He explains; "For example, in Manaus, Brazil, the age range of cases is 12-42 years, with an overall mortality of 48 per cent piece in Panama, the median age of cases is 33 years, and 59 per cent of these patient die.
"However, histoplasmosis doesn't only affect AIDS patients. It can attack people without underlying health conditions and any disorder patients. So, even when AIDS is conquered, histoplasmosis will continue to pose problems, so improved diagnosing and medical care is required as part of capacity strengthening in very galore countries."