Having suffered from TB stigma after developing occupationally acquired TB, I believed that by using my status as a patient and a doctor and by sharing my story publicly, I could start a social dialogue about the condition and help change how people view TB.
South Africa has a very serious TB and HIV epidemic, and the combination of the two has created fear and misconceptions about the two conditions within our communities.
The discrimination and stigma experienced by people with TB is one of the very powerful social determinants of disease that has contributed to the spread of the epidemic. I believe if we start talking about it and educating people about the disease, we’ll be well on the way to eradicating it.
I am a member of the South African National Aids Council’s Global Fund Country Co-ordinating Mechanism, representing the TB community in civil society. The CCM raises funds to assist developing nations in responding to the challenges of HIV and AIDS, TB and Malaria.