Tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious infectious disease continuing to cause around 1.8 million deaths annually. The great paradox is that despite the availability of effective treatment for the past 60 years, it continues to spread relentlessly, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa due to the fuelling effect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It is no longer a medical epidemic, but an epidemic of injustice. Increased political and financial investment by the industrially developed nations, as well as sustained political will in the affected countries, is required to bring TB under control. It is imperative that the control should be linked to that of HIV which is also closely associated with poverty, poor housing and malnutrition. The historical, social, philosophical and political perspectives that may have influenced the failure of TB control are discussed. Once again, therefore, the question is raised--can TB be brought under control?