Background: Limited English proficiency (LEP) and other sociodemographic factors are believed to impact health knowledge, healthcare access and overall health status. However, the role LEP plays in the overall health awareness and receipt of healthcare services is not adequately understood. Methods: We surveyed 60 LEP Hispanic/Latino adults to determine their awareness of common health conditions in Hispanic/Latino communities and describe their experiences accessing and utilizing health services in the Charleston, SC area. Results: Awareness of Common Health Conditions: The majority of participants identified alcoholism as an important health condition among Hispanic/Latino adults. Other common health conditions reported included drug use, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. Access to Health Services: All of the participants reported problems obtaining needed health services in the past. Problems reported were associated with costs, insurance and lack of Spanish-speaking service providers. Utilization of Health Services: More than 70% of the participants went to the doctor when they were sick, but 50% had never had a physical examination. Conclusions: The LEP Hispanic/Latino adults in this survey were generally aware of major health-related conditions common among Hispanics/Latinos. The presence of LEP did not significantly impact awareness of common health conditions in Hispanic/Latino communities. Healthcare access and utilization were influenced by a number factors associated with the local healthcare system.
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