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Lived Experiences of Patients Suffering from Acute Old World Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: A Qualitative Content Analysis Study from Iran.


Background: The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of patients who suffer from acute cutaneous leishmaniasis in Iran, focusing on quality of life.

Methods: The study was conducted at two different sites in Iran in 2010-2011. Individual in-depth interviews were conducted with six men and six women parasitologically confirmed acute cutaneous leishmaniasis. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and translated into English. Qualitative content analysis was used for data analysis.

Results: The participants, aged 23 to 63yr, had mild to severe disease. Based on the analysis four main themes were developed. "Fearing an agonizing disease" reflects patients' experiences of disease development resulting in sadness and depression, "struggling to cope" and "taking on the blame" both illustrate how patients experience living with the disease, which included both felt and enacted stigma as major social concerns. "Longing for being seen and heard" refers to patients' experiences with healthcare as well as their expectations and demands from communities and healthcare to be involved in closing the knowledge and awareness gap.

Conclusion: Mental and social dimensions of cutaneous leishmaniasis were complex and adversely affected patients' lives by causing psychological burden and limiting their social interactions. Health authorities have to plan programs to increase the disease awareness to prevent the existing stigma to improve patients' social condition and medical care.

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Journal Article
Khatami A
Emmelin M
Talaee R
Miramin-Mohammadi A
Aghazadeh N
Firooz A
Stenberg B