Stigma and discrimination are recognized as some of the most commonly identified barriers to fight the TB epidemic. (1) Reducing TB stigma is therefore essential because it hinders care seeking, contact tracing, outbreak investigations, treatment initiation, adherence and quality of care. Moreover it degrades social capital; it deprives people with TB of their rights and the respect of others. (2) Ultimately it can also contribute to catastrophic costs when people with TB are pushed out of their homes, communities and jobs – losing their security, support system and means of income. Stigma not only harms patients, but also erodes health care workers’ commitment to high quality care. An effective approach must therefore protect everyone’s rights as a cornerstone of patient-centered care.
1: World Health Organization, Ethics guidance for the implementation of the End TB Strategy. 2017, Geneva: WHO.
2: Jaramillo, E., S. Sahu, and C. Van Weezenbeek, Ending TB-related stigma and discrimination. Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, 2017. 21(11): p. 2-3.