Sex differences in Tuberculosis burden and notifications in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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TB prevalence is significantly higher among men than women in low- and middle-income countries, with strong evidence that men are disadvantaged in seeking and/or accessing TB care in many settings.

Global health initiatives have tended to treat “gender” issues in health as being synonymous with women’s health. However, for infectious diseases, policy and practice need to be guided by epidemiological data and consideration of transmission dynamics. Many more men than women are diagnosed with, and die from, tuberculosis (TB) globally. Data from population-level surveys for undiagnosed TB, carried out in a number of countries during the last two decades, can be combined with data on diagnosed (notified) cases to provide more complete insight into the magnitude and nature of sex differences in TB. Global strategies and national TB programmes should recognise men as an underserved high-risk group and improve men’s access to diagnostic and screening services to reduce the overall burden of TB more effectively and ensure gender equity in TB care.

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