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At least 76% of people with long covid facial stigma

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In a British study recently published in the journal another, the researchers found that among people with long-term COVID, the prevalence was 95% for those who experienced constant stigma and 76% for those who had always experienced stigma. However, fear of and internalization of stigma were reported more often than direct experiences of stigmatization or discrimination.

Stigma is an insidious and insidious process through which certain individuals or entire communities are ostracized and denied full social acceptance. This may be due to a disability/health condition, their physical appearance, skin color or behavioral patterns.

“Stigma – and the fear of being left out or stigmatized – drives people underground and away from health services and contributes to mental health problems, jeopardizing long-term physical health outcomes,” the researchers write in their study.

This is a major concern for those who have been living with Covid for a long time, as it is a multi-system condition that affects people after coronavirus infection. Many people with long-term COVID experience chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – also known as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). It is a complex and long-term illness that begins with an acute infection such as COVID and can significantly affect a person’s daily routine, including the ability to work and be productive.

A UK study in 2022 estimates that around 1.8 million people will have extended Covid for at least a month. Of those, at least 791,000 had covid for one year and 235,000 had covid for two years.

According to the researchers, people with little-studied and “controversial” health conditions like COVID may face long-term stigma through three mechanisms: direct and overt experiences of discrimination, people adopting internalized stigma or negative beliefs, and health stigma. Feel ashamed of the situation and expect others to treat them in a biased and dismissive manner.

As research on long-term COVID is still in its infancy, Marija Pantelic of the University of Sussex and colleagues examined how common it is for people with long-term COVID to experience different types of stigma.

The researchers included 966 participants who lived in the UK. About 85% of them were female and the average age of the participants was 48 years. Participants completed an online survey with 13 questions based on CFS/ME, and their responses were completely anonymous.

About 61% of the participants said they were very careful who they talked to for a long time about having COVID and about 34% of them said they sometimes regret not talking to some people for a long time. Talk about having Covid and struggling with CFS/ME for a while.

“Evidence across health issues and geographic contexts suggests that long-term Covid stigma may hamper public health by jeopardizing patients’ mental health and their engagement in the health system,” the researchers wrote. “Developing evidence-based strategies to address Covid stigma over the long term requires a description of the problem, including prevalence estimates and a validated scale that can capture changes in stigma over time.”

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