Revista de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 0124-0064
STORINO, RUBÉN et al. Biological, psychological and social aspects of discrimination against patients with Chagas disease in Argentina. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2002, vol.4, n.3, pp. 258-269. ISSN 0124-0064.
The present study was conducted to find out whether Chagas reactive serology is a cause for discrimination at the work place in Argentina, and if such discrimination was related to the existence of chagasic cardiopathy. 705 patients with Chagas reactive serology - randomly chosen - were studied during the year 2000. These patients were surveyed about their work situation and the results were compared to the work situation of the population in general, according to the figures gathered by the Statistical and Census National Institute, in the same year. Both groups were divided into: economically active, permanently employed, temporarily employed, unemployed and economically inactive people. Later, patients were classified as Group I (with positive serology but with no cardiopathy), Group II (with cardiopathy but no dilation), Group III (with dilated cardiopathy). It was observed that the proportion of permanently employed patients with Chagas disease was lower, 21 %, than that of the general population and that the proportion of both temporarily employed and unemployed people were considerably higher, 29 %, in patients with positive serology. Unemployment brings forth psychological and social problems with negative side effects in the personal lives of the infected people. In conclusion, it should be highlighted that an interdisciplinary approach aimed at patients with Chagas disease and population at risk of infection is needed. This approach should follow a biological, psychological and sociological scheme and in order to complement and optimize the conventional measures of control.
Keywords : Chagas disease; chagas cardiomyopathy; unemployment.