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Cadernos de Saúde Pública

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Abstract

OLIVEIRA, Maria Helena Pessini de  and  ROMANELLI, Geraldo. The effects of Leprosy on men and women: a gender study. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 1998, vol.14, n.1, pp. 51-60. ISSN 0102-311X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X1998000100013.

On the basis of social representations, we detected gender differences in family and individual living experiences for people with Hansen's disease (HD, or leprosy) in a sample of 202 HD patients (132 men and 70 women) enrolled in a public treatment and control program in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo State. Information was gathered in two stages. First, the HD patients responded to a structured questionnaire, and second, the authors heard reports from 10 men and 10 women on their daily living situations. Data indicated that the disease receives different representations by men as compared to women in the different social groups. HD was found to be a source of gender imbalance, further aggravating existing sociocultural inequalities and creating new sources of biopsychosocial and economic harm, in addition to the stigmata weighing on individual patients. Results should help reorient treatment and control programs aimed at the social rehabilitation of HD patients, besides serving as a paradigm for future research.

Keywords : Leprosy; Gender; Social Representation.

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