Tackle fatal links between TB, HIV and alcohol

There is a strong link between TB, HIV and alcohol and government needs to respond quickly to the call for more effort to tackle the link according to a group of experts addressing a briefing hosted by the Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication yesterday.

Speakers included Dr Sue Goldstein, Executive M&E at Soul City Institute, Prof Neo Morojele, a noted researcher at the University of KZN and Deputy Director at Medical Research Council and Agnes Shabalala, Research Manager at Soul City Institute and the deputy director at Medical Research Council.

Dr Goldstein said there were several statistics that showed South Africa is one of the heaviest drinking nations but there were insufficient programmers to reduce the incidence of harmful drinking.

“There are number of challenges which includes that alcohol is easily accessible, that outlets are everywhere and also that alcohol is cheap. The link between HIV and alcohol is relatively high as there is an association between alcohol consumption and risky sexual behavior. The HIV prevalence rate in young women between 16-24 continues to increase.

Prof Morojele spoke about the International Alcohol Control (IAC) study which is a multi-country study which will measure alcohol consumption, exposure to alcohol adverts and other alcohol consumption behavior. It will also measure the impact of alcohol control policies in different countries on drinking behavior.

“There are very high levels of exposure to alcohol adverts which contributes to a shift in societal norms regarding alcohol and alcohol consumption in South Africa with 90% of adolescent exposure being on television.

Soul City Institute conducted a Literature Review on Tuberculosis in South Africa and also conduted focus group research in Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo and Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Shabalala said: “There are a number of myths around the transmission and treatment of TB. Given the high HIV prevalence and high alcohol consumption context in the country, it is critical that South Africans test for TB so that both treatment and the necessary lifestyle changes can be made to ensure recovery from TB.”

For more information and interviews:

Savera Kalideen
071 227 0939

Nhlanhla Kubeka
079 847 8975
+27 11 325 5251

Cassiobury Court offer a useful resource on the dangers of drinking alcohol for people suffering from HIV.

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