Stigma towards leprosy: a systematic review


  • Ihsan Fachry Arba Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.
  • Afif Nurul Hidayati Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.
  • Soetjipto Soetjipto Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.
  • Damayanti Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.


Leprosy, Morbus Hansen, Hansen's Disease, Stigma, Discrimination, Social exclusion


Background: One of the many problems that hinder leprosy prevention efforts is the stigma attached to leprosy, people affected by leprosy, and even their families. Stigma against leprosy can lead to discrimination, which will cause leprosy patients to be reluctant to seek treatment. To date, there are still no reviews that discuss the overall picture of the causes, manifestations, and the impact of stigma related to leprosy. This systematic review aims to know the leading causes, manifestations, and the impact of stigma related to leprosy.Methods: Search for inclusion studies was carried out through the PubMed and ScienceDirect databases, resulting in 13 studies included. Six studies use an individual perspective in their research, three studies with a community perspective, and four studies with a combined perspective of individuals and communities.Results: The number of included studies that will be reviewed in this study consists of eight cross-sectional studies, two RCT studies, one grounded theory study, one exploratory study, and one study with an unspecified design. A total of 2,636 participants were included in all the studies. The analysis results of all of the included studies indicate that for the factors that cause stigma, eight studies discussed the fear of contracting the disease, 10 studies discussed the external manifestations of the disease, three studies discussed burden on the family. Seven studies discussed cultural and community misconceptions. All studies discussed about enacted stigma for manifestations of stigma, 10 studies discussed about anticipated stigma, and 11 studies discussed internalized stigma. All studies discussed the social and psychological impacts of stigma related to leprosy, and only 3 studies discussed health impacts.Conclusion: The stigma towards leprosy is mainly caused by external manifestations of the people affected by leprosy, with the main manifestations of avoidance, social exclusion and concealment of the disease, and the main impact of social isolation from the community, reduced employment opportunities, and feeling of shame.

Author Biographies

Ihsan Fachry Arba, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.

Department of Dermatology and Venereology

Afif Nurul Hidayati, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.

Department of Dermatology and Venereology

Soetjipto Soetjipto, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.

Department of Psychiatry

Damayanti, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga/ Dr. Soetomo General Hospital, Surabaya, Indonesia.

Department of Dermatology and Venereology


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How to Cite

Arba IF, Hidayati AN, Soetjipto S, Damayanti. Stigma towards leprosy: a systematic review. J Pak Assoc Dermatol [Internet]. 2021Aug.6 [cited 2024Feb.26];31(2):250-61. Available from:



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