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TB Key Populations

TB Key populations face much higher rates of TB than the general population and are most vulnerable to contracting TB. The most common TB key populations are:
  • People who use drugs (PWUD)
  • Urban populations
  • Rural populations
  • Prisoners
  • Children
  • People who work in mines
  • Migrant and mobile populations
  • People living with HIV

Depending on the country context TB key populations may also include specific types of PWUD especially those that share smoking equipment when smoking methamphetamine, heroin, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs. 

Urban and rural populations at risk of TB exposure are often those living in crowded housing with poor ventilation. 

Prisoners at risk of TB exposure may be those who are current or former prisoners. Many prisons do not provide TB treatment and the cramped and crowded conditions of many prisons allow for easy transmission of TB.

Migrants or mobile populations and miners may be exposed to TB when living and/or working in crowded and poorly ventilated environments. 

Children, like people living with HIV, are particularly vulnerable to TB infection as a result of having weaker immune systems. 

HIV Key populations often have limited resources, live in vulnerable situations, and may face stigmatization and discrimination, including from health services. They may live with TB for a long time before getting any health care and treatment.

For more information, please see the TB key population data framework (TO BE ADDED) from StopTB in which I wrote the methodology (sampling, population size estimation, rapid assessment) sections. Also see the chapter I wrote entitled “Methods for measuring TB stigma in hard to reach populations” for the book on TB Stigma measurement (TO BE ADDED).