Leprosy Mailing List – December 21, 2017
Ref.: (LML) Fear from leprosy and lepraphobia
From: Wim van Brakel, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
I would like say that I fully agree with Dr Sunil Deepak's view expressed in the post of Dec 19th, 2017. Leprophobia should be reserved for fears that are extraordinary and that could be seen as a psychological condition, similar to other phobias.
Fear of leprosy in terms of fear of contagion, fear of leprosy-related disabilities, and often also fear of social stigma and of shame and rejection, are unfortunately very common. They can be profound and are possibly the strongest drivers of stigma and also causing internalized stigma among persons affected. However, as Dr Deepak stated, they are based on the prevailing perception and (lack of) knowledge about leprosy or on experiences of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy. Such fears are thus rational, rather than irrational as is the case with phobias.
With kind regards,
Wim van Brakel
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Wim van Brakel, MD MSc PhD
Head Technical Department
Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR)
Tel. +31 20 5950529
LML - S Deepak, B Naafs, S Noto and P Schreuder
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