South Africa is the country with the largest AIDS epidemic in the world (nearly one-eighth of the population is HIV positive) and also has one of the highest rates of TB. Both diseases combined have a lethal effect, as they mutually reinforce each other. In fact ,TB is a leading cause of death among people who are HIV-positive and HIV is the single most important factor contributing to the increase in the incidence of TB since 1990.
The proliferation of both infections in South Africa is intimately connected to past and present of the country. On one hand, the precarious living conditions of the black population during the apartheid provided a favorable environment for the transmission of HIV and TB. On the other hand, until recently, the South African government's response to these diseases has been marked by denial, lack of political will and poor implementation of policies and programs. However, nowadays the government and South African society are becoming aware of the seriousness of these diseases, both individually and combined. This work documents the lives of those affected by TB and by the lethal combination of HIV and TB, and the benefits of having access to adequate medical treatment.