Demystifying a highly misunderstood disease – leprosy

Leprosy is the oldest infectious disease in human history – researchers believe that leprosy appears in an Egyptian Papyrus document written around 1550 B.C. This ancient disease thrives in the 21st century with over 2,00, 000 new cases detected in 150 countries in 2017.
Even today, when leprosy is curable, the age-old stigma attached to it has not been cured. Stigma is a reality in the lives of the people affected by leprosy, and this hampers their physical, psychological, social and economic well-being. The stigma attached to leprosy is so acute that persons affected by the disease, in many cases, are forced to leave their homes and live in isolated colonies. Stigma leads to irrational behaviour towards people affected by the disease. It is hurtful and leads to discriminatory practices.

#BustLeprosyMyths – a short video countering myths about leprosy with real facts

“Leprosy is the result of a curse.” “Leprosy cannot be cured.” How many of us have grown up hearing this?

But the unfortunate part is, we believe in such myths about leprosy and these myths add to the stigma associated with leprosy.

The Pune Cantonment Board has added another misconception to the already long list of misconceptions about leprosy. Here it is!

Leprosy is one of the world’s most misunderstood diseases. It is riddled with myths and misconceptions, evoking fear in the minds of people. These myths and misconceptions kick off an inimical chain reaction! They aggravate the stigma associated with the disease. Fearing stigmatisation, patients do not seek medical treatment. Because of this, patients develop disabilities. Also, the infection spreads.