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CTCA hires TB Patient Peer Navigator to offer support to TB patients in California

TB Patient Peer Support Navigator, Jackie (she/her) Cuen, will pilot a peer support outreach effort for CTCA in partnership with the San Diego County Tuberculosis Control and Refugee Health Program.  An expert in her own experience with TB and fluent in Spanish and English, Jackie is eager to offer support to TB patients.

Jackie joined the San Diego TB Survivor group in 2019 and was excited to see how she could get more involved. She was introduced to and joined We Are TB, a national volunteer membership organization made up of former and current TB patients and their family members, working together to offer peer support to TB patients and provide education to the general public and policy leaders about the ongoing impact of TB in the U.S.

Unfortunately, most Americans believe that tuberculosis (TB) is a disease of the past. Each year, approximately 2,000 Californians and 10,000 in the U.S. are diagnosed with TB. In California 2.5 million are estimated to be living with TB infection, the latent (inactive) form of TB.  At any point, TB infection can make a person sick and be contagious, a threat to family and friends. Educating medical providers and community members with risks for TB that TB is a dangerous threat in the U.S. is an ongoing challenge.

Jackie will provide peer support herself or connect TB patients to We Are TB volunteers with similar experiences, when preferred. For example, parents of children diagnosed with TB or women diagnosed while pregnant, may prefer peer support from someone that has had a similar TB experience.  In addition to offering peer support, she will provide an important TB patient perspective to TB elimination planning and will speak out about her experience to educate the public and medical providers about the persistence of TB in California. 

Take a look at the video Jackie shared of her TB experience located on our Patients resource page.  

2020 CTCA Conference, two free two-hour Zoom meetings, Nov. 12 and 17

The CTCA Executive Committee’s top priority this year is to provide the CA public health TB care and prevention community opportunities to come together to focus on TB and have an opportunity to connect with one another during this extended emergency COVID-19 response.

On November 12th (1-3 PM PST) we’ll share two hours from our planned 2020 Spring Conference opening plenary session: Our state TB epidemiology update, California, TB Elimination Landscape, presented by leaders from the California Department of Public Health TB Control Branch, followed by an innovative TB elimination strategy presented by Jacek Skarbinski, MD, at Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, Moving TB prevention cascade forward in a large primary care setting.

Two hours of CMEs/CEUs will be available for those who attend the full program on November 12th and complete the evaluation that will be emailed to those registered by 11/6/20. This evaluation must be completed by 11/27.

We are excited to come together and focus on TB during this ongoing COVID-19 response. We hope you will be able to join us. Again, there is no cost to attend either of these meetings, and all are welcome. You must pre-register. The deadline for registration is 11/6/20.

Presentations and recordings from previous CTCA conferences can be found on our Events Archives page linked here.

TB and COVID-19 (posted 8/24/20)

Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19, a growing concern, July 28, 2020

While we focus on the new threat, an old one may be gaining strength. With medical providers focusing on COVID-19 and patients delaying care, infectious disease experts in California are concerned that TB is going undiagnosed. Concerns are growing that TB could be spreading among those with COVID-19, undetected. When HIV/AIDS emerged in the U.S., TB surged in those communities heavily impacted.

TB has been with us for over 9,000 years, and it is estimated that one third of the world’s population is living with latent TB infection (LTBI). Approximately 2.4 million Californians are currently living with LTBI. People can live with LTBI for years, even decades before developing TB disease.

LTBI is not contagious and is much easier to treat than TB disease. Treating LTBI before people get sick with TB disease and spread TB in their communities is a new focus of TB experts in the U.S.

Each year more than 2,000 people are diagnosed with TB disease in California. TB disease is both preventable and curable, and yet people still die with TB. Approximately 10% of people with TB disease in California, died with TB.

Dr. Robert Benjamin, longtime CTCA member and dedicated TB MD in California, suggested a new slogan for TB care and prevention staff in public health departments, now focusing on COVID-19: Not All Coughs Are COVID. We want to urge the medical community and the general public to remember that one third of the world’s population is infected with TB, and Not All Coughs Are COVID.

Know the risks for TB. If you have one, contact your medical provider to be tested. If you have a positive TB test, talk with your medical provider about taking a short course drug treatment to prevent TB disease. You are not just protecting yourself, you are protecting the future of your family and those around you.

We can’t forget about TB. It doesn’t forget about us.

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