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Infectious TB can be passed on to other people, so the government has powers to stop the spread of the disease. This section offers you information on how your rights might be affected while you have TB.

Getting tested for TB

Pre-entry screening

In 2012 UK Border Agency introduced a pre-entry TB screening programme, which now includes around 80 high TB incidence countries. Visa applicants from these countries who wish to enter the UK for 6 months or more will need to be screened for TB before they are granted a UK visa. This will not affect tourist and business visitors who are visiting for less than six months.

Please check the UK Visas and Immigration service web pages for more information.

When living in the UK

Health authorities will usually contact newly arrived people to encourage them to register with a GP, and will often invite them to be tested for TB, if they were not previously tested.

Testing for TB is for the benefit of your health and your friends, family and community. If you are found to be ill with TB, do not worry. You will receive treatment for the duration of your stay in the UK, including if you have arrived in the UK to apply for asylum and your application has not been successful.

Taking your medication

When someone who has infectious TB does not take their medication (known as non-compliance), they could be detained in hospital under Sections 37 and 38 of the Public Health (Control of Infections) Act 1984. This is because infectious TB is a public health concern, which means the government can limit a person’s freedoms if their illness could affect the health of other people.

It is important to tell your nurse or key worker about any problems you have with side effects or remembering to take your tablets, so they can help. Some people might find it easier to have Directly Observed Treatment (DOT).

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