When Malawian farmer Medson Sakala was diagnosed with TB just two years after finding out he was HIV positive, he faced widespread stigma and discrimination.
“I found myself in many difficult situations,” says Medson. “For example, my wife’s family told her wife not to eat with me, as they thought I could give her TB or HIV by sharing meals.
“Eventually I convinced my family that stigma was counter productive and that there was no way they could contract TB or HIV by sharing meals with me. Later on my kids and my wife started joining me on the table and from that time up to now we live positively.”
After being diagnosed with TB, Medson took the prescribed drugs and was successfully cured of the illness. He also started anti-retroviral drugs around that time, which he is still taking. He’s feeling better these days and is able to once again grow vegetables in his garden, which he exchanges for maize.
TB Alert’s JournAIDS project is using mass media to raise awareness of TB in Malawi, helping get people diagnosed and into treatment quicker, and tackling the stigma and discrimination that Medson faced.