Cryptococcosis: a deadly fungal disease

Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection that kills more than 500,000 HIV/AIDS patients every year worldwide. Many patients die because their infection is not detected until disease has progressed to a brain infection. However, many of these deaths are preventable. Patients can be screened for early cryptococcal disease and treated before they develop life-threatening brain infection. New inexpensive blood tests and a readily available oral medication (fluconazole) make early detection (screening) and treatment more feasible.

Major international public health organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are working together with university scientists, non-governmental organizations, and governments in African and Asian countries to make screening and treatment for cryptococcal disease a reality in countries with high burdens of HIV/AIDS-associated cryptococcosis.

The goal of the partnership is to ensure that every country in the world with a major AIDS epidemic has access to the basic tools for provider and patient education about cryptococcosis, and cryptococcal screening and treatment. Over time, cryptococcal screening and treatment will become a routine part of HIV/AIDS care. As the expansion of HIV testing, linkage to care, and access to antiretroviral therapy increases, the need for the screening and treatment of cryptococcal disease will decline. Until that time, cryptococcal screening and treatment programs can prevent thousands of deaths.

Please join the effort to save thousands of lives. Help make cryptococcal disease history.