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Mortal Secrets: Truth & Lies In The Age Of AIDS - 2004-01-21

Swelling HIV infection rates are driving a tuberculosis epidemic across Africa and in developing nations around the world. Although the virus does not cause TB, people with a weakened immune system are much more likely to become infected with the TB bacteria.

When someone admits they have TB, others may suspect that they are also HIV positive. So, the stigma surrounding HIV leads many people to avoid seeking medical care for TB and a variety of other health conditions.

What's more, the fear of "giving themselves away" can mean they don't get tested or practice safer sex. Health experts say public policies that improve access to care and reduce discrimination make it easier for HIV positive people to stop harboring what could be a deadly secret. And, as Shelley Schlender reports, so does the courage of those who come forward.

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