Prejudice towards chronic diseases: comparison among epilepsy, AIDS and diabetes

Seizure. 2007 Jun;16(4):320-3. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2007.01.008. Epub 2007 Feb 22.


Introduction: Diseases have an additional negative meaning but with different magnitude. Epilepsy is considered a stigmatizing condition; however its magnitude is unknown in our society, a limited-resource country, as Brazil.

Purpose: To compare the stigma perception of epilepsy to other two chronic conditions: AIDS and diabetes in the city of Campinas, Brazil.

Methods: We interviewed people in two situations: on the streets (145 randomly selected people) and during a Meeting of Epilepsy (86 people). We asked three questions "What score would you rate for the prejudice that general population has towards: epilepsy, AIDS and diabetes". The score ranges from 0 (no prejudice) to 10 (maximum prejudice), and was displayed to the interviewee in the format of a ruler.

Results: The median (upper and lower 95% confidence interval) prejudice score of lay people was 9 (7.8-8.6) for AIDS, 7 (6.1-7.0) for epilepsy and 2 (2.5-3.5) for diabetes. The median prejudice score of people with epilepsy and relatives was 9 (6.9-8.1) for AIDS, 7 (6.4-7.5) for epilepsy and 2.5 (2.9-4.2) for diabetes.

Discussion: There is a difference in the perception of prejudice towards people with chronic diseases; AIDS had the highest level of stigma and diabetes the lowest, and epilepsy was in the intermediate position but closer to AIDS.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Brazil
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus / psychology*
  • Epilepsy / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prejudice*