How is tuberculosis a human rights issue?

A lack of respect for human rights fuels the spread of TB by creating conducive economic, social and environmental conditions. Key vulnerable groups include people living in poverty, ethnic minorities, women, children, people living with HIV, prisoners, homeless persons, migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons. They are more likely to be exposed to conditions that are conducive to TB development and less likely to have the information, power and resources necessary to ensure their health. Additional groups at risk include people who work in institutional settings, and people who use alcohol, tobacco and drugs.

TB also undermines the realization of human rights by increasing vulnerability to the disease. People affected by TB suffer a double burden: the impact of the disease as well as the “consequential loss of other rights.” TB contributes to poverty, for example, by preventing people from working and by imposing high costs related to treatment and care. People can also be subjected to arbitrary and harmful measures such as involuntary treatment, detention, isolation and incarceration. Finally, TB-associated stigma and discrimination—and overlapping discrimination based on gender, poverty, or HIV status—can affect people’s employment, housing and access to social services.

(Source: Health and Human Rights Resource Guide, François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health)



Topics: ,
Type of resource: Manuals and guidelines

Ethics guidance for the implementation of the End TB strategy (2017)

Open resource
Type of resource: Books and reports

Health and Human Rights Journal – special section on tuberculosis and human rights (2016)
Health and Human Rights Journal

Open resource