Eight out of ten people with psoriasis experience discrimination

Report highlights stigma faced by psoriasis patients

Psoriasis advocates support call for urgent change as survey reveals 78% people with psoriasis in UK face humiliation and discrimination

  • 41% of patients asked if they are contagious and a third report being stared at
  • 40% feel psoriasis has affected their relationship and of these almost a third avoid intimate relationships, 44% avoid sex completely and 16% have had a partner refuse to have sex with them because of their condition
  • 52% feel psoriasis has affected their work life and of these more than a fifth (22%) endure colleagues making fun of them and 1 in 10 have quit a job because of their psoriasis
  • 67% lack belief in the possibility of achieving clear or almost clear skin in the UK

A Novartis survey exploring the impact of moderate to severe psoriasis has revealed the emotional impact of the disease. One of the most disturbing findings from this survey, which launched today, was that almost 8 in 10 people with psoriasis experience humiliation and discrimination – impacting their ability to live life to the full.

The survey of 552 UK patients (out of 8,338, across 31 countries*), showed that almost 7 in 10 (67%) people with psoriasis in the UK lack belief in the possibility of achieving clear or almost clear skin. This finding is higher than the average across the 31 countries participating in the survey, which was 55%. The survey also highlighted that those that felt comfortable setting goals such as achieving clear, or almost clear skin with their healthcare professional, increased their chances of achieving them.

“Everyone deserves the right to receive effective management for their psoriasis. This survey shows that if you agree a psoriasis management goal with your doctor, that you are more likely to achieve it,” said Dr. Richard B Warren, Reader Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Dermatologist at the Dermatology Centre Salford Royal Foundation Hospital, University of Manchester. “Though we may not be able to change the public’s attitude overnight, as dermatologists, we should work with patients to encourage them to strive towards their psoriasis management goals.”

In the UK there are around 1.8 million people living with psoriasis, 20% of whom have the moderate to severe form. As well as exploring the emotional impact that psoriasis has on patients with moderate to severe psoriasis, the survey also looked at what patients would most look forward to if they had clearer skin, but felt like they couldn’t because of their psoriasis. The responses ranged from simple, everyday things such as going swimming (66%), which topped the list, followed by lying on the beach or sunbathing (64%), wearing black clothes (50%) and going shopping (35%), along with more personal ones such as having sexual relations with their partner (30%) or simply just hugging other people (24%).

“The findings of today’s survey, which highlight the extent to which people with psoriasis are experiencing discrimination, rejection and isolation – are depressing but not surprising,” said Dr James Partridge OBE, Chief Executive of Changing Faces. “The social stigma that comes with looking ‘different’ can prevent many people with psoriasis from living full lives, and this research provides yet more evidence.”

“We encourage psoriasis patients who are struggling with these issues to speak to health care professional immediately and take full advantage of all the online and in person support services available to them, through this campaign, Changing Faces resources and beyond”.

To help address the above issues, Novartis has today launched a campaign on YouCanWeDid.co.uk – a patient empowerment website produced by and for people with psoriasis. Novartis is also proud to be working alongside the British Skin Foundation, Psoriasis Shout Out and Changing Faces on this important campaign asking people with psoriasis to inspire others to set and aim for clear goals by sharing stories and visuals of them doing the one thing they have been putting off because of their psoriasis, using #YouCanWeDid.

About the Survey

Novartis initiated and funded the survey, which was conducted by the market research company Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (GfK) Switzerland. The survey was supported by a prestigious steering committee of medical experts from around the world. With 8,338 participants, this is the largest global survey of people with psoriasis to date, of which 552 participants took part from the UK.

*Participants in the survey come from the following 31 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK and the US.

Further information

For further information, please contact Rehana Browne, Communications Officer, on 020 7391 9289.

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