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Reversal of Misfortunes

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Science  22 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6122, pp. 898-903
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6122.898

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South Africa's HIV/TB syndemic has its roots in a badly broken health system and years of neglect. For TB, a cure has existed for decades, but many sick people in South Africa remain undiagnosed, and those who receive treatment often fail to take their drugs as prescribed, which in turn gives rise to drug resistant strains. Now, with President Jacob Zuma at the helm and a new health minister in place, South Africa has made a dramatic turnaround and is at the forefront of efforts to combat these married diseases. The government has allocated more of its own money and attracted substantial international support to find everyone who needs drugs for HIV and TB, better coordinate their treatment, improve prevention efforts, and ramp up research to figure out how the diseases interact. But South Africa still has a long way to go, and progress often occurs more slowly than anyone would like.