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Exploring perceptions and stigma of tuberculosis among the young adults in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Tuberculosis continues to remain as one of the major health problems and it is the leading cause of death among youth in South Africa. Although several studies have explored community perceptions when it comes to tuberculosis, little is known about youth perceptions specifically. Therefore, this study aimed at exploring the perceptions and potential stigma of tuberculosis among young adults in a rural area of KwaZulu-Natal. This was the qualitative research study which adopted the individual in-depth interviews to collect data among the young adult males and among the young adult females aged between 18 to 35 years. The interviews were audio taped, translated and transcribed to verbatim English. The results revealed that while there was a high level of awareness of TB as a potential health condition, specific knowledge of transmission and treatment varied among the participants and it include the false beliefs regarding how TB could be prevented. The results also revealed that young adults had a positive interrelation with people who were infected with tuberculosis.The results further revealed the young adults possible stigma of tuberculosis by revealing some of the mitigating factors for tuberculosis stigma which were the lack of knowledge, fear of the disease, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis interrelation as well as the reactions into fear and discrimination of tuberculosis. The results then showed young adults perceptions of TB infected people living in the community where it presented the attitudes of young adults towards tuberculosis infected individuals as well the community attitudes towards tuberculosis infected individuals. Therefore, the study findings revealed that the young adults did not uniformly hold, nor did they demonstrate stigma towards the individuals with tuberculosis. However, they were aware about the existing stigma in the community that is attached to tuberculosis within the rural area of KwaZulu-Natal.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.