Below is Andreea’s story, a young Romanian woman whose life was interrupted by XDR TB. She is lucky to be alive. In Romania, only 3.3% of XDR patients are successfully treated. Romania has one of the lowest treatment success rates in the entire world for MDR-TB (20% in 2010). At the same time, the two centers of excellence for MDR treatment that are funded by the Global Fund have treatment success rates about three times as high. Andreea’s story shows us both the success of the global fund project, but also how new drugs and diagnostics that GFATM is providing Romania in 2014 and 2015 (including Romania’s first shipment of group 5 drugs to treat XDR-TB next month) are making the chances of survival for patients like Andreea much better than they were for her. In the summer of 2014, Andreea spoke at an extraordinary meeting of the CCM which brought together representatives from WHO, World Bank, MoH, the Romanian Nat. TB Program, and many NGO representatives. Listening to Andreea talk about how, at that time, she still did not know if she would survive brought a number of the people in the room to tears. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Global Fund saved her life. (Stillo 2015).

I learned I had TB when I was 17 years old. I didn’t know anything about TB then. After the first 4 months of treatment for drug susceptible TB, I learned I had MDR-TB. It was a huge shock, because in the meantime I learned what it meant to have TB and MDR-TB. It was like my life was turned off: My colleagues went to school, I was looking at them through a hospital window…After one year of MDR-TB treatment I found I had XDR-TB and I needed special drugs in order to live. I wanted to live, I wanted to be student, I wanted to go to the sea, to run, to breathe… I had to go to Bucharest for special treatment that was provided by the Global Fund program.

I spent 2 of my birthdays in the hospital, I coughed blood, I almost died because of the side effects, I put on hold my adolescence and I made it. After four years of treatment, I was finally cured of XDR-TB in September 2014. Now at 22, I am alive because I want to live, because of my family, my doctors and the drugs provided by the Global Fund.

Andreea

Andreea