TB, HIV and AIDS and stigma

TB, HIV and AIDS and stigma

HIV is the first stage of the infection with the HI virus. AIDS is the last stage where there is no resistance at all. HIV positive people, whose disease has got worse, get sick easily and so can be infected with TB.

TB is often the first indication of AIDS. People with both diseases also suffer double discrimination; they can be discriminated against because of HIV and AIDS and because of TB.

TB makes the poor even poorer as people become sick. Income is lost in families that are already struggling with little money. The stigma of HIV and AIDS also causes problems for persons living with TB. This is especially so in communities who view persons living with AIDS as a threat to society.

The association of TB with HIV means that people suffer additional discrimination. If a young person develops TB other people may assume that they also have HIV. Health care workers need to respect the confidentiality of TB patients in the same way as that of people with HIV. They also need to make sure that communities and families know how to prevent the spreading of the virus. TB in people with HIV is no more infectious than TB in people who do not have HIV.

Community education is needed to increase awareness that TB can be cured. It is most important to know that people are no longer contagious after the first two weeks of treatment. It is necessary to work to change the stigma and fear associated with both TB and HIV.

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