State of the Art on Ending TB-related Stigma and Discrimination

The IJTLD TB Stigma Supplement, which consists of three editorials and eleven original articles, is now released.

The stigma around tuberculosis (TB) creates a major challenge to individuals affected by TB, and to global elimination of the disease. Too many of patients diagnosed with the disease are ejected from their households, rejected by loved ones, and/or lose their jobs, which are just a few of the most common social consequences of being diagnosed with TB. Furthermore, an estimated 4 million people annually miss accessing TB care. TB Stigma is likely a contributor to this.

The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IJTLD) TB Stigma Supplement presents the state of the art in TB Stigma measurement. The articles address how TB Stigma thrives in settings where criminalization laws and policies contribute to high rates of incarceration. A new approach is proposed to place stigmatization in a cost-effectiveness equation. One article suggests how supervision, exposure to patients’ rights and training in confidentiality can improve health care workers’ understanding and advocacy of dignified and respectful TB-HIV care, whilst another focuses on how innovations are needed, since effective interventions to reduce TB stigma are few. Finally, the experts outline the TB Stigma research gaps and how to fill them.

“It’s time to address stigma and TB, since stigma creates a great barrier to the care of TB patients”, says Michael Kimerling, Director of the Technical Services Division at KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation. KNCV experts conceived the special issue which was funded by USAID through the Challenge TB project.

”This supplement is the collective wisdom of leaders, experts, researchers and activists on stigma,” explains Ellen M. H. Mitchell, Senior Epidemiologist at KNCV, who designed three of the experiments and Co-Edited the supplement. ”There is no one way to measure TB stigma, but we all agree that it must be measured so that we can turn to our real task: reimagining TB care in ways that uphold the dignity of all involved, elevate the spirit and recognize the humanity of people touched TB.”

KNCV has been fighting TB since its establishment in 1903. Over the past 117 years, the organization has acquired indispensable knowledge and experience in the field of effective TB control, resulting in pre-elimination in the Netherlands and significant contributions to global evidence generation, policy development and TB program implementation worldwide.

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Tuberculosis is still one of the major causes of preventable death in the world and claims over 4000 lives a day, leading to over 1,5 million deaths a year.

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