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Lepr Rev. 2000 Jun;71(2):128-43.

A woman with leprosy is in double jeopardy.

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  • 1Guy's St Thomas's and King's Medical School, London, UK.


The double jeopardy associated with female leprosy patients is the central theme underpinning this essay. It constitutes a combination of biological factors unique to women and culturally defined bias, resulting in more stigmatization and isolation for women. Having examined the female immunological response and biological roles, the essay continues by focusing on the gender-culture perspective of leprosy. It draws upon an historical analysis of the experiences of Indian and African women to illustrate the ways in which gender roles impact upon health education and the utilization of health care services. Concluding comments suggest strategies that might improve female leprosy patient status, and views towards future research.

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