Background: Tuberculosis remains the number one killer among infectious diseases in South Africa. The TB disease burden is said to be higher among males, 1.6 times more than females in 2018. Moreover, men are reported to have poor healthcare-seeking behaviors. Loss in social and physical functioning, including reduced sexual desires and changes in family life, have been reported following a TB diagnosis. This study explored the meaning that male TB patients attach to their TB diagnosis and impact of TB infection in their lives and those of the people living with them. Methods: This exploratory qualitative study was conducted among 25 participants recruited among male patients seeking TB care from two clinics in informal settlements of the city of Johannesburg. In-depth interviews with open-ended questions were conducted using an audio recorder for the collection of data. Data analysis was conducted on the NVivo version 12 software following an inductive thematic approach. Results: The ages of the participants ranged between 18 and 61 years. Most were unemployed, and only a few were married or in steady relationships. From the two emerging themes, pre-TB diagnosis health-seeking behaviors and post TB-diagnosis experiences, several subthemes were identified. For the former theme, the subthemes include, seeking help from community-based healers and self-medicating, waiting for some period to see if the alternative medicine or treatment worked, taking time to visit a healthcare facility, triggers to seek healthcare, and symptoms reported on presentation to the healthcare facility. The post-TB diagnosis subthemes include making sense of the TB diagnosis, context of disclosing the TB status, fear of social exclusion and experiences of stigma, support received during illness, life changes after TB infection and diagnosis, and lessons learned from the TB experience and future healthcare-seeking behavior. Conclusion: Secrecy about the TB diagnosis indicates fear of social exclusion, and this could be due to the highly stigmatized nature of TB. Waiting to see if alternative medication worked, delayed the TB diagnosis, with consequent late initiation of the anti-TB treatment. The life changes experienced post-TB diagnosis affect the quality of life of the participants and their families. The study recommends that these issues be addressed as a priority.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 2022|
- TB diagnosis
- TB stigma
- male healthcare-seeking behavior