Courtesy stigma: A concealed consternation among caregivers of people affected by leprosy.
This study explored the experiences of courtesy stigma among caregivers of people affected by leprosy. Using a qualitative research approach, twenty participants were purposively selected and in-depth interviews conducted. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed to identify emerging themes that addressed the objectives of the study. The findings indicated that the caregivers of people affected by leprosy experienced courtesy stigma. Evidence showed that fear of contagion underpinned caregivers’ experiences, especially in employment and romantic relationships. In addition, participants adopted different strategies (disregarding, concealment, education, faith-based trust) to handle courtesy stigma. The findings demonstrate that psychosocial support and financial assistance to caregivers are necessary considerations for attainment of effective care for people affected by leprosy.