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Title: Living Invisible: HTLV-1-Infected Persons and the Lack of Care in Public Health
Authors: ZIHLMANN, Karina FrancoALVARENGA, Augusta Thereza deCASSEB, Jorge
Citation: PLOS NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASES, v.6, n.6, article ID e1705, 5p, 2012
Abstract: Introduction: Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) infection is intractable and endemic in many countries. Although a few individuals have severe symptoms, most patients remain asymptomatic throughout their lives and their infections may be unknown to many health professionals. HTLV-1 can be considered a neglected public health problem and there are not many studies specifically on patients' needs and emotional experiences. Objective: To better understand how women and men living with HTLV-1 experience the disease and what issues exist in their healthcare processes. Methods: A qualitative study using participant observation and life story interview methods was conducted with 13 symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, at the outpatient clinic of the Emilio Ribas Infectious Diseases Institute, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Results and Discussion: The interviewees stated that HTLV-1 is a largely unknown infection to society and health professionals. Counseling is rare, but when it occurs, focuses on the low probability of developing HTLV-1 related diseases without adequately addressing the risk of infection transmission or reproductive decisions. The diagnosis of HTLV-1 can remain a stigmatized secret as patients deny their situations. As a consequence, the disease remains invisible and there are potentially negative implications for patient self-care and the identification of infected relatives. This perception seems to be shared by some health professionals who do not appear to understand the importance of preventing new infections. Conclusions: Patients and medical staff referred that the main focus was the illness risk, but not the identification of infected relatives to prevent new infections. This biomedical model of care makes prevention difficult, contributes to the lack of care in public health for HTLV-1, and further perpetuates the infection among populations. Thus, HTLV-1 patients experience an ""invisibility"" of their complex demands and feel that their rights as citizens are ignored.
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Artigos e Materiais de Revistas Científicas - HC/ICHC
Instituto Central - HC/ICHC

Artigos e Materiais de Revistas Científicas - LIM/56
LIM/56 - Laboratório de Investigação em Dermatologia e Imunodeficiências

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