In many cultures, leprosy elicits fear, stigma, and misunderstanding. Historically, people affected by leprosy were banished or isolated from the rest of society. Although the worldwide incidence of leprosy has declined markedly over the past quarter century with the advent of new multidrug therapies, developing nations are still encountering a high number of cases.
In An Uncertain Cure, Cassandra White goes deep into the shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro to give a riveting account of the contemporary leprosy experience among poor and working class Brazilians. In this ethnographic treatment of leprosy sufferers, White exposes the web of historical, socioeconomic, religious, and political forces that complicate the path to wellness and perpetuate high rates of infection. Drawing on nearly ten years of research, White shows how anthropological research can contribute to more effective treatment of chronic infectious diseases around the world.