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Psoriasis is Not Contagious: Novartis Egypt Raises Awareness on the Stigmatised Skin Disease

Psoriasis patients often undergo feelings of shame, due to their stigmatisation by people who feel the disease is contagious.

Staff Writer

Psoriasis is Not Contagious: Novartis Egypt Raises Awareness on the Stigmatised Skin Disease

Having a skin condition, regardless of how benign it may be, is not something one tends to be eager to share with others, let alone have them notice on their own. Those who suffer from skin diseases like psoriasis suffer not only from the irritation that comes with the build up of skin cells, but also from the social stigmatisation that they endure as a result.

Leading pharmaceutical company Novartis Egypt, in collaboration with the Egyptian Psoriasis Patient Society (currently under establishment), wanted to raise awareness on what psoriasis is through their 'Skin to Live In' campaign, which aims to provide a better understanding of the disease. Novartis Egypt is also moving to introduce advanced technologies and methods to Egypt to create new ways of treatment.

Psoriasis is a common autoimmune skin disorder caused by the speeding up of the skin cells' life cycle. The symptoms of the disease are itchy red patches or scales that are sometimes painful depending on the severity of the case.

For many [psoriasis] patients, the road to diagnosis is long and arduous.

"Psoriasis is a common, non-contagious, and autoimmune skin disorder that affects almost 125 million people worldwide," said Mahira El Sayed, former head of Ain Shams University's Dermatology and Venereology Department. This means that it's approximately 1 in 50 adults who suffer from psoriasis.Novartis Egypt is aiming to improve lives of psoriasis patients in Egypt, since most patients also suffer from social anxiety and sometimes depression due to the shame inflicted upon them by the stigma associated with their conditions. Many Egyptian psoriasis patients have sadly reported incidents in which people have avoided coming into contact or close proximity of them, in fear of the red patches being contagious.

"For many patients, the road to diagnosis is long and arduous, and involves trying various therapies to manage their symptoms," Magdy Ragab, Professor of Dermatology and Venereology at Alexandria University said during the conference. According to Ragab, the World Health Assembly reiterated about the suffering that psoriasis patients go through as a result of the lack of awareness. Most of the patients suffer due to incorrect or delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options, and insufficient access to care.

Currently, psoriasis patients in Egypt have access to a few treatment options, such as tropical creams, oral pills, phototherapy, and biologics found in different clinics and pharmaceutical companies. However, not much information regarding where or how to get these treatments is accessible to most patients.

“Novartis has been at the forefront of raising awareness about critical disease areas, including psoriasis, with the launch of an integrated campaign designed to inspire hope and drive action for patients to break free from the challenges of living with psoriasis," Dr. Assem Farag, President of the Sharm Derma Congress said about the topic. This is a groundbreaking regional patient activation endeavor seeking to empower all those affected by psoriasis, and encourage them to take proactive steps to overcome its challenges."

The "Skin to Live In" campaign is expected to launch soon in Egypt and throughout the Middle East. It already kicked off in the UAE last year, aiming to provide psoriasis patients with a community to fall back to.

The content of this article is sponsored.