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Perceived Social Stigma of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Hubuna, Saudi Arabia


Background: Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is a vector-borne skin infection that remains prevalent in regions with poor socioeconomic conditions. Stigmatization occurs when individuals with physical or psychological disorders interact with societal stereotypes. The aim of this study was to explore the perceived social stigma surrounding CL among people residing in Hubuna, Saudi Arabia.

Methods: This cross-sectional community-based survey recruited 618 individuals aged 18 years and above using the snowball sampling technique to reach hidden cases within the target population. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire and the Explanatory Model Interview Catalogue for Perceived Social Stigma (EMIC-SS-12) was used to assess the level of perceived social stigma. It includes questions on demographic variables, behaviors, and experiences. The analysis was performed using SPSS.

Results: The study included 618 participants, the majority of whom were women and girls (54.2%), with a mean age of 28 ± 12.7 years. The median score for perceived social stigma was 26.0. Only 2.1% (n = 13) of participants had the highest EMIC-SS-12 score of 36, while 7.6% (n = 47) scored zero. The mean score for overall perceived social stigma was 1.89 ± 0.91, while the mean score for experienced stigma was 1.99 ± 1.02. Univariate analysis showed that sex, employment, location of lesions, and number of lesions were insignificantly associated with stigmatization (P-value < 0.05), because these associations were uncertain because the CI includes or very close to 1.

Conclusion: The study reveals insights into stigmatization associated with CL in the Habuna area of Saudi Arabia. It found that the median of perceived social stigma was 26. Factors such as sex, employment status, and location of the lesion are uncertainly associated with stigma. It is crucial to explore negative behaviors and perceptions and develop suitable health education programs.

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Journal Article
Elfaki N
Alzahrani MJ
Abdalla Y
Adeh AI
Osman Abdalla A
Alkhadher M
Elrefaey SR
Abdelmagid WHH
Alshameri F
Jarelnape A
Hakami M
Alghamdi FAA
Elhaj Y
Dinar N
Mohamed A
Abdulrahman E
Mohamed DHM
Sagiron E
Ali MH
Ahmed WA