International Journal of Respiratory Medicine

All submissions of the EM system will be redirected to Online Manuscript Submission System. Authors are requested to submit articles directly to Online Manuscript Submission System of respective journal.
Reach Us +1 (629)348-3199

Short Communication - International Journal of Respiratory Medicine (2023) Volume 8, Issue 5

Social stigma and tuberculosis: Addressing discrimination and misconceptions in pregnant women

Pricilla Rai*

Department of Social and Behavioral Research, ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India

*Corresponding Author:
Pricilla Rai
Department of Social and Behavioral Research
ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai, India

Received: 06-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AAIJRM-23-118949; Editor assigned: 09-Oct-2023, PreQC No. AAIJRM-23-118949(PQ); Reviewed: 18-Oct-2023, QC No. AAIJRM-23-118949; Revised: 23-Oct-2023, Manuscript No. AAIJRM-23-118949(R); Published: 26-Oct-2023, DOI: 10.35841/aaijrm-8.5.172

Citation: Rai P. Social stigma and tuberculosis: Addressing discrimination and misconceptions in pregnant women. Int J Respir Med. 2023; 8(5):172

Visit for more related articles at International Journal of Respiratory Medicine


Tuberculosis (TB) is not only a medical condition but also a deeply social and stigmatized disease. The impact of social stigma on TB patients is significant and can hinder efforts to control and treat the disease effectively. This article delves into the issue of social stigma surrounding TB, its consequences, and the importance of addressing and dismantling these barriers for the benefit of both individuals and public health. TB has a long history of being associated with social stigma, fear, and discrimination. It is often seen as a disease of poverty, and misconceptions about its transmission and treatment persist in many communities. As a result, individuals diagnosed with TB, whether it's pulmonary or extra pulmonary, often face a double burden: the physical toll of the disease and the emotional toll of social stigma [1].

Tuberculosis (TB) is a persistent global health issue, and its impact on pregnant women is a matter of particular concern. The intersection of TB and pregnancy is fraught with challenges, including social stigma and misconceptions that can have significant consequences for both maternal and child health. This article explores the issue of social stigma associated with TB in pregnant women, the misconceptions surrounding TB during pregnancy, and strategies to address and mitigate these challenges [2].

The Intersection of Tuberculosis and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a unique phase in a woman's life, characterized by increased vulnerability and unique healthcare needs. When TB is added to the equation, it becomes a more complex and delicate issue. Pregnant women with TB face not only the health risks associated with the disease but also the weight of social stigma and misconceptions [3].

Social Stigma Associated with TB in Pregnancy

Pregnant women with TB often experience fear and avoidance from family members, friends, and even healthcare providers. This isolation can lead to emotional distress and hinder access to essential care. Stigmatizing attitudes that attribute blame to the woman for contracting TB can exacerbate feelings of shame and guilt. This blame can be further fueled by misconceptions about TB transmission. Transmission to the Fetus: Misunderstandings about TB transmission may lead to the belief that TB can be transmitted from the mother to the fetus, causing fear and undue concern. Myths and misconceptions about breastfeeding while having TB can discourage mothers from breastfeeding, despite the fact that proper treatment reduces the risk of transmission through breast milk. Concerns about the safety of TB treatment during pregnancy can lead some women to refuse or discontinue treatment, potentially endangering both their own and their baby's health [4].

Addressing Social Stigma and Misconceptions

Comprehensive public health campaigns should be launched to educate communities, families, and healthcare providers about TB, its transmission, and treatment safety during pregnancy. Pregnant women should be actively involved in their treatment decisions and provided with accurate information to make informed choices regarding their health and their baby's health. Creating support groups and providing psychological counseling can help pregnant women with TB cope with social stigma, fear, and emotional distress. Healthcare professionals should receive training on addressing social stigma and misconceptions. They can play a pivotal role in delivering accurate information and empathetic care. Advocacy efforts should be made to implement legal protections against discrimination based on TB status, especially during pregnancy [5].


Social stigma surrounding TB not only affects individuals but also hinders global efforts to control and eliminate the disease. It is imperative to tackle stigma through education, awareness, and support. By doing so, we can create a more compassionate and understanding society where TB patients are not marginalized but empowered to seek care, adhere to treatment, and ultimately break the cycle of transmission. Reducing social stigma is not only a matter of public health but also a matter of social justice and human rights. Addressing social stigma and misconceptions associated with tuberculosis in pregnant women is crucial for the well-being of both mothers and their infants. A multifaceted approach that combines education, empowerment, support, and legal protections is essential to ensure that pregnant women with TB receive the care and support they need while challenging the stigmatizing attitudes and misconceptions that persist in society. By doing so, we can improve maternal and child health outcomes and reduce the burden of TB in vulnerable populations.


  1. Juniarti N, Evans D. A qualitative review: the stigma of tuberculosis. J Clin Nurs. 2011;20(13-14):1961-70.
  2. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  3. Royce RA, Colson PW, Woodsong C, et al. Tuberculosis knowledge, awareness, and stigma among African-Americans in three southeastern counties in the USA: a qualitative study of community perspectives. J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2017;4:47-58.
  4. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  5. Courtwright A, Turner AN. Tuberculosis and stigmatization: pathways and interventions. Public Health Rep. 2010;125(4_suppl):34-42.
  6. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  7. Thomas BE, Shanmugam P, Malaisamy M, et al. Psycho-socio-economic issues challenging multidrug resistant tuberculosis patients: a systematic review. PloS. 2016;11(1):e0147397.
  8. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

  9. Wang L, Zhang H, Ruan Y, et al. Tuberculosis prevalence in China, 1990–2010; a longitudinal analysis of national survey data. Lancet. 2014;383(9934):2057-64.
  10. Indexed at, Google Scholar, Cross Ref

Get the App