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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

Infomercials Aim to Debunk Myths About Tuberculosis


BusinessWorld (Philippines) (08.13.03) - Monday, August 18,

An average of 75 people die from tuberculosis every day in the Philippines, according to Department of Health statistics. The nation has the seventh highest number of TB cases worldwide. Determined to increase public awareness about the disease, ReachOut Foundation launched three 30-second television ads, which began airing last June. The ads reveal three instances in the life of "Tibor," a person with TB.

ReachOut's first ad, "Pila," tells TB patients that there are more things to be ashamed of than having TB. The ad shows the faces of different characters lining up at a bus terminal. As the camera pans the faces, captions appear - a cell phone snatcher, a househelp beater, an adulterer, and TB-infected Tibor. The ad ends with encouragement for people with TB to seek treatment.

The infomercial also addresses the stereotype that only thin, frail people who cough incessantly have TB. It is a stereotype that has caused many Filipinos to underestimate the seriousness of TB, despite the fact that 5 percent of households could be infected, and almost 75 percent of Filipinos carry inactive TB bacteria.

The second ad, "Bahay," shows Tibor at home with his wife and two children, enjoying a meal together. It expresses the importance of family care and support during treatment, in an attempt to end a common practice of isolating TB patients from the rest of the family. Many are unaware that with successful treatment, TB patients can no longer infect others and can lead very normal lives. The ad also dismisses the belief that TB can be cured only in hospitals, because the disease can be treated even at home.

Set in a health center, the third ad features the health worker and doctor as front-liners in the fight against TB. The ad shows Tibor recovering from TB and shows how constant medical attention contributes to his health.


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Information in this article was accurate in August 18, 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.