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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 295034, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/295034
Research Article

Barriers to Testing and Treatment for Chagas Disease among Latino Immigrants in Georgia

1Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2Emory College, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA

Received 13 July 2012; Revised 6 October 2012; Accepted 27 November 2012

Academic Editor: Vitaliano A. Cama

Copyright © 2012 Rebecca M. Minneman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. The lack of testing and treatment of Chagas disease (CD), caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, amongst infected immigrants in the USA increases the risk of serious health complications and transmission (congenital or via blood transfusions). Goal. Our goal was to identify the barriers to testing and treatment of CD and understand the process of seeking healthcare amongst Latino immigrants in Georgia. Methods. In this qualitative study, eleven focus group discussions were conducted with 82 Latino immigrants, including migrant farm workers. Grounded theory was used to collect and analyze the data to develop an inductive conceptual framework to explain the context and process of seeking healthcare for CD amongst this at-risk population. Results. Participants were not aware of CD. Three healthcare seeking behaviors were identified: delaying treatment, using traditional remedies, and using either mainstream or alternative health providers. Behaviors and motivations differed by gender, and the use of licensed medical providers was considered a last resort due to the cost of healthcare, loss of earnings while seeking care, and fear of diagnosis with fatal illness. Discussion. Providing free or low cost services, mobile clinics, and education regarding CD is critical to increase testing and treatment of CD in the US.