Using 15 DHS surveys to study epidemiological correlates of TB courtesy stigma and health-seeking behaviour

E. J. J. Rood, C. Mergenthaler, M. I. Bakker, L. Redwood, E. M. H. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


SETTING: Tuberculosis (TB) stigma is thought to delay or prevent the decision to seek health care, but the strength of this association and the prevalence of anticipated TB stigma in the general population in most countries is unknown.

OBJECTIVE : To examine epidemiological, cultural and sociodemographic factors associated with TB courtesy stigma in 15 surveys across 13 countries, and its link to health seeking for cough in children under five.

DESIGN: A multilevel survey weighted logistic regression model was used to analyse how individual characteristics and social contexts affect the occurrence of TB courtesy stigma. The same modelling approach was used to analyse associations between TB courtesy stigma and individual-level predictors of health-seeking behaviour of mothers for children with cough.

RESULTS : TB courtesy stigma varies greatly among countries. TB courtesy stigma was negatively correlated with knowledge of TB's curability (adjusted OR [aOR] 0.82; 95% CI 0.78-0.86) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) accepting attitudes (proxy for HIV stigma) (aOR 0.15, 95% CI 0.15-0.16). Mothers' health-seeking behaviour for children under five with cough was found to be positively correlated with HIV accepting attitudes (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.08-1.25), but was marginally affected by TB courtesy stigma (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98-1.00).

CONCLUSION: Improving the general awareness of the effectiveness of anti-tuberculosis treatment will help to diminish TB courtesy stigma, and should be prioritised over expanding knowledge of mode of transmission. Efforts to reduce HIV and TB stigma may increase care seeking for childhood TB symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)S60-+
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • TB courtesy stigma
  • health-seeking behaviour
  • DHS
  • HIV stigma
  • HIV
  • CAPE


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