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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


RIVERA CHAVARRIA, Ana; ESPINOZA AGUIRRE, Azálea  and  SANCHEZ HERNANDEZ, Germana. Knowledge, beliefs and perceptions regarding leprosy treatment seeking in Costa Rica. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2019, vol.28, n.2, pp.172-184. ISSN 1409-1429.


Identify knowledge, beliefs and perceptions regarding treatment seeking in Costa Rica from the perspective of the person with the disease and in daily life context.


An exploratory qualitative study was carried out based on 24 semi-structured interviews with people with leprosy or leprosy history between 23 and 88 years old who were treated by the Costa Rican Public Health System. Informants´ selection was used.


Informants did not attend to medical care until the symptoms were difficult tomanage. For beliefs about how they got leprosy, some of them do not know their cause.

Despite the fact that most of them have a family history, vulnerability feelings in relation to their condition, severity assessment of perceived symptoms as well as some warning signs that are common to leprosy were not attributed to it.

For many informants the word leprosy has social opprobrium meaning, and the consequence is that the person who suffers leprosy stigmatizes himself as an"identifiable leper."


The way people understand leprosy influence help seeking. Information actions must be aimed to people with leprosy, their families, communities and health care providers in order to generate articulated and effective approaches for disease prevention or timely detection.

Keywords : Leprosy; knowledge; beliefs; perceptions.

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