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Free Content Knowledge, attitudes and risk perceptions about tuberculosis: US National Health Interview Survey

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BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis (TB) disproportionately affects the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected, foreign-born, Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, homeless, incarcerated, alcoholic, diabetic or cancer patients, male, those aged >44 years, smokers and poor persons.

METHODS: We present TB knowledge, attitudes and risk perceptions overall and for those experiencing TB disparities from the 2000–2005 US National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

RESULTS: A total of 32% of respondents said TB is curable; 44% correctly recognized that TB is transmitted by air. Persons with less knowledge about TB transmission were aged 18–24 years, alcohol abusers, educated <12 years, Hispanics or males. Persons less likely to say TB is curable were aged 18–44 years, smokers, HIV-tested, uninsured, alcohol abusers or homeless/incarcerated. Only 28% of foreign-born persons from Mexico/Central America/the Caribbean said TB was curable.

CONCLUSIONS: Knowledge about TB transmission and curability was low among a representative US population. Renewed TB educational efforts are needed for all populations, but should be targeted to populations disproportionately affected, especially those who are HIV-infected, homeless/incarcerated, Black, alcohol abusers, uninsured or born in Mexico/Central America/the Caribbean.
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Keywords: attitudes; knowledge; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Division of Tuberculosis Elimination, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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