L.A. Now


Do we have the will to stop TB?

Do we have the will to stop TB?

Doctors swear to do no harm, but I knew I was about to inflict great suffering on my patient Gary, who had been diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR TB. Many people wrongly assume that tuberculosis has been eradicated. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, tuberculosis killed more people in 2015 than HIV/AIDS.

The strain affecting Gary is difficult to cure. Eighty percent or more of patients with XDR-TB die of their disease. There is grueling, toxic treatment available, but it doesn't guarantee a cure. Gary would be facing permanent nerve damage. Constant nausea. Kidney damage. Hearing loss. He would have to take 10 to 12 drugs at a time...