Two Epidemics. One Mission.

On a chilly Wednesday morning in August, a line of 150 patients snakes through the hallways to the first waiting room of the Prince Cyril Zulu Communicable Disease Centre in Durban, South Africa – a center dedicated to HIV, STD, and TB treatment. Elsewhere in the country, where health care facilities are overtaxed, this lengthy queue would usually foreshadow a wait of up to 10 hours.

But here something different is happening. CDC and partners are working to transform the very way health facilities are tackling the world’s two leading infectious disease killers – HIV and TB – by fighting them in tandem.

Staffers at computer monitors swiftly log in HIV patients and dispatch them for triage. Patients with TB are directed to a special area on a separate floor – with wide ventilated windows and dedicated kiosks for testing, treatment, and prevention. Those who only need their medicines can walk directly to the pharmacy, where each patient’s medical record is stored and easily accessed on a computerized system – allowing pharmacists to quickly fill patient orders.

“Together, we have transformed this facility into a wonderfully efficient place,” says CDC-South Africa’s Dr. Hloniphile Mabuza. “The reality is that HIV and TB are a deadly combination. We cannot divorce the two.”

TB is the leading killer of people with HIV. Those living with HIV are also up to 30 times more likely to develop active TB than those who are not. Yet, historically, HIV and TB were siloed and treated separately. But not here. “Here, we aren’t just talking about HIV and TB integration,” says Dr. Mabuza, “we’re making it happen!”