Fighting TB stigma: we need to apply lessons learnt from HIV activism


►► The global tuberculosis (TB) and HIV epidemics are worsened by stigmatisation that is incited by their association with poverty, social marginalisation, risk of transmission and death, and may be perpetuated by subversive policies and practices.

►► The HIV community has successfully rallied forces to challenge the stigmatisation of people with HIV, through collective, grassroots human rights movements that have led to tangible shifts in policy. The TB community has not adequately contested programmatic norms that reinforce TB stigma.

►► The TB community not adequately contested age-old programmatic norms that reinforce the stigmatisation of people with or affected by TB.

►► Raising awareness about TB stigma is insufficient to mitigate stigma. The TB community needs consciousness raising, a form of activism where people with and affected by TB come together to share their experiences, identify common struggles and begin collectively organising to change harmful practices.

►► TB science can be used to affirm the rights and dignity of people with TB. Common TB policies and practices can be modified to reduce TB stigma, informed by lessons from HIV activism.


Daftary, A., Frick, M., Venkatesan, N., & Pai, M. (2017). Fighting TB stigma: we need to apply lessons learnt from HIV activism. BMJ global health2(4), e000515.

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