Rising TB cases linked to HIV/AIDS

The number of tuberculosis cases in Tanzania has risen from 39,000 a decade ago to 64,200 in 2005, a trend blamed on high HIV/AIDS prevalence, the Health Minister, David Mwakyusa, said on Thursday.

"Research conducted in many parts of the country by the Ministry of Health between 2003 and 2004 established that HIV/AIDS contributes to increased TB cases by about 60 percent," the minister said.

"More than 30 percent of AIDS patients die of TB. This is a big challenge to our country in the fight against the disease," he added in remarks ahead of World Tuberculosis Day on Saturday.

Efforts to fight the two pandemics should be coordinated because the two health problems are related, he added.

"We have to understand that the two diseases can attack one person at the same time. So we should focus our efforts on both diseases," he said. There are an estimated two million people infected with the HI virus in Tanzania, which has a population of about 38 million.