Risk factors of stigma related to leprosy. A systematic review.
The studies reviewed indicate that leprosy stigma is still a global phenomenon, occurring in both endemic and non-endemic countries. The consequences of stigma can range from the psychosocial dysfunction to isolation, rejection and participation restriction. Despite the variation in prevalence of different types of stigma, its severity and nature, the risk factors associated with stigma are remarkably similar. They include visible impairments, disability, low socioeconomic status, low education and the various perceptions regarding leprosy. This suggests that risk factors contributing to the development of stigma are perhaps of a similar nature thus indicating that management of stigma in diverse culture is possible by implementing related stigma-reduction strategies to counteract the various risk factors in various settings. Nonetheless, establishing the particular risk factors that contribute to stigma in different settings can further aid the design of specific interventional programs to address the different determinants followed by the evaluation and monitoring of the stigma interventions at different levels and settings.