LAHORE - More than two billion people, that is nearly one third of the worlds total population are infected with TB bacilli, the microbes that cause TB and one in every 10 of the people will become sick with active TB in his or her lifetime. People living with HIV are at a much greater risk. World TB Day on March 24, an annual health observance, is designed to raise awareness about tuberculosis, a treatable, curable and preventable disease, said Rana Muhammad Iqbal Speaker Punjab Assembly while addressing the 4th national conference on World TB Day 2010, held here under the auspices of Pakistan Medical Society, in collaboration with Fatima Memorial Hospital & TB Control Program, Punjab. Dr Asad Ashraf Chairman Task Force on Health Punjab said WHO aimed at reaching all patients through health systems and primary healthcare and was working with other agencies to achieve the target under the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Tuberculosis (TB) is contagious and spreads through the air. If not treated, each person with active TB can infect an average of 10 to 15 people a year. Chairman Pakistan Medical Society Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh said that TB was a disease of poverty, affecting mostly young adults in their most productive years. The vast majority of TB deaths are in the developing world, with more than half occurring in Asia. TB is a leading killer among people living with HIV, who have weakened immune systems. There were 9.27 million new TB cases in 2007, of which 80 per cent were in just 22 countries. Per capita, the global TB incidence rate is falling, but the rate of decline is very slow, that is less than 1 per cent. Dr Masood Akhtar Sheikh said that persons at high risk of TB include individuals born in countries that have high rates of TB, persons with HIV infection and AIDS, homeless persons, people who have spent time in jail or prison, intravenous drug users, and those who have had close interactions with persons who have infectious TB disease. Effective treatment is available to those infected with the TB bacterium, which significantly reduces the chance of developing active TB disease in future. This year marks the halfway point for the Global Plan to Stop TB (2006-2015). The campaign for 2010 is focused on finding innovative approaches to stop TB, including advances in integrating TB care into health systems. On World TB Day, March 24 the Pakistan Medical society highlighted the need to support programmes which combat tuberculosis (TB), a disease, which although curable, kills around two million people a year. Dr. Masood sheikh said that stigma was a major concern and there was often a false assumption that TB was a death sentence. Weve been campaigning with the message that TB is curable, treatment is free and most people can remain at home while being treated, under DOTS program. Dr Masood Sheikh said that, TB is a global issue that thrives on poverty and marginalises people and so its not just a public health issue - its also a humanitarian issue.