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Leprosy patients’ battle against stigma continues

  • Leprosy patients’ battle against stigma continues
    Summary: * Name changed to protect privacyIn Tamil Nadu, a total of 3,604 new cases were detected in 2014-15 In Tamil Nadu, a total of 3,604 new cases were detected in 2014-15, with 327 in Chennai. In Tamil Nadu, according to National Leprosy Eradication Programme’s website, the prevalence rate of the disease per 10,000 population, as of March 2015, is 0.38. Even today, after 15 years of living with leprosy, 30-year-old Karthik* still does not tell people what is wrong with his right foot. “The stigma is coming down now, partly due to awareness campaigns and also because the government provides support for education and employment for people with leprosy,” said Dr. Yogalakshmi.

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    Even today, after 15 years of living with leprosy, 30-year-old Karthik* still does not tell people what is wrong with his right foot. “I work with an IT company in Chennai, and while the top management knows, my colleagues do not. If I tell them, I will be viewed differently,” he said. And so, Karthik, who has lost all sensation below his right knee, has told his colleagues he met with an accident.

    “People with diabetes who have foot problems can openly tell others what the reason is — but I still can’t,” he said. Leprosy is a bacterial disease. While its exact mode of transmission is not known, it is believed to be transmitted through droplets in the air. It is treated with multi-drug therapy. Though it is infectious, after 24 hours of treatment, a person affected with leprosy becomes non-infectious, said Vineeta Shanker, executive director, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation, which works in many parts of the country.

    Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/leprosy-patients-battle-against-stigma-continues/article8177346.ece


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