Title

Tuberculosis, immigration & incarceration : a public disease in a private health care system

Publication Date

1-1-2006

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

Medical doctors have concluded that Tuberculosis is curable and preventable yet it remains the leading infectious cause of young adult deaths in much of the world. The United States and most other developed nations are excluded from the statistics as tuberculosis has been eradicated or at least dormant in the public eye for nearly a century. However, it has indeed flourish with the influx of immigrants from developing nations in the 20th century. This paper examines a Tibetan immigrant's experience curing his active m. tuberculosis infection within the U.S. private healthcare system and examines the stigma attached to carrying and curing this draconian disease. Through this ethnographic case study I examine how racial and social inequality contribute to the persistence of communicable diseases such as TB which are preventable and curable but continue to kill millions of people worldwide. This study contributes to a body of knowledge focusing on the detriment of discarding a person's own beliefs and cultural background when treatment and preventative measures are administered by a system that lacks a multi-cultural component.

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