The American Thoracic Society applauds the World Health Organization (WHO) on its Global Tuberculosis Report 2015, which finds that the number of TB deaths is now virtually equal to the number of HIV/AIDS deaths globally, according to a statement from ATS past president and TB expert Dr Dean Schraufnagel.

The data shows that TB threatens to undo the tremendous progress made by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund Against AIDS, TB and Malaria. The ATS joins the WHO in calling for increased funding to halt the global TB pandemic.

“The ATS reiterates its call to the international community to fully fund TB control and research and development programs,” said Dr Schraufnagel. “In its report, the WHO describes insufficient funding as the key obstacle to battling TB. This includes the urgent need to develop new diagnostic, treatment and prevention tools. President Obama will shortly be releasing an ambitious National Action Plan to Combat Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis globally and in the U.S. We urge the Administration and Congress to fully implement and fund this important global health initiative through the CDC, USAID, and TB research through the National Institutes of Health. We simply must step up our efforts to combat TB, now the leading global infectious disease killer alongside HIV/AIDS, and this new plan will provide the guidance for doing so.”

“The ATS, originally founded as the American Sanitorium Association in 1905, and its more than 15,000 worldwide members pledge to continue our work to eliminate TB. In collaboration with the WHO and other  partners, we have produced international standards of care and are providing  technical assistance in implementing those standards and other TB control, treatment and prevention strategies in over 23 countries.”