Talking about one's TB experience is just not as common as talking about the cold you had over the winter. TB is not an easy topic to discuss. TB education and advocacy programs across the country have been challenged for decades to include persons impacted by TB into their efforts. It seems the dream is that people would naturally want to just hop on the stage and tell their story. For the most part, not many people want to be known as "that person who had TB." Yet, we can learn some valuable lessons from how cancer awareness and advocacy campaigns have evolved in the US. Once highly stigmatized, now persons with cancer are supported because people who had cancer educated the masses on how their survival depends on strong social support and the elimination of the cancer stigma. These campaigns have also taught us that a person is a person first---- who happens to have cancer. Our TB Voices participants demonstrated that TB was a chapter in their lives and they want others to know that. They especially want this message to reach people who are newly diagnosed with TB. The want them to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. What seemed to help our participants bring their stories forward was
1 Trust in how their story was to be used and
2 how their story could help others dealing with TB today.
Gratitude to our participants for sharing their TB stories!