Health activists are calling for an end to the use of the word leprosy, saying that language frequently used by politicians and others during the pandemic has made people with leprosy more marginalized.
The analogy of socially ostracized “leprosy” has been used often, both in media reports of the stigma against early Covid-19 patients and by politicians in Italy and Brazil who complain that they are considered “leprosy colonies”. Activists now want to end the use of what they call the “L-word.”
“This kind of language perpetuates a mindset against people who are still suffering,” said Matthias Duck, director of global advocacy at The Leprosy Mission, a British charity.
“People affected before the pandemic have already been marginalized, and the epidemic has pushed leprosy to the bottom of the priority list.”