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Help Seeking Behavior

The foreign-born represent a growing proportion of patients with active TB disease. However, such individuals may delay seeking treatment for possible TB because of concerns about immigration status, language barriers, and specific perceptions and beliefs. Often, immigrants showing TB symptoms may first present at a traditional healer, a pharmacy, or a community physician who is a native of the same country before seeking care at a clinic or emergency room. If they are unfamiliar with diagnostic techniques for TB, such providers may not guide the symptomatic individual to appropriate treatment resources.

Thus, it is important to understand the various paths that TB patients take to treatment. We are conducting a survey of newly-diagnosed TB patients to learn: 1) which other types of providers are consulted; 2) the timeline involved in this search for health care; 3) what specific factors set that search in motion; and 4) how perceptions of the care that is received at each step influence the next step taken by the patient in his or her search. Due to the exploratory nature of this project, we will use a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methodologies.