A youth organization that encourages the development of volunteerism through community service and charitable acts says many Jamaicans know little about Lupus and want to learn more.
Loving Arms Jamaica says during the month of May, it launched its twenty-fourth (24th) project, a Lupus Awareness Campaign.
Lupus is an auto-immune disease which causes the immune system to become over-reactive. At this point, the antibodies start fighting healthy cells instead of fighting infections and viruses. Lupus is NOT contagious/infectious or cancerous.
As a part of this initiative, a survey was conducted with two hundred and twenty-three (223) responses received. One hundred and forty-two (142) surveys were done manually and eighty-one (81) surveys were completed online.
Of all the individuals who completed the survey, 40.6% were from the age group 16-25 years, 34% were from 26-35 years, 18.8% were from 36-50 years and 6.6% were 51 and over.
Respondents were asked if they have any knowledge about Lupus. One hundred and forty-five (145) individuals or two out of every three said “yes” and seventy-eight (78) or about a third said “no.” Ninety-three per cent (93%) of the people who stated that they do not know about the disease indicated that it is possible that this condition is serious and seven per cent (7%) indicated that they do not think it is serious because they are not aware. Of all the individuals who indicated that they know what Lupus is, 74.7% or nearly three quarters had the correct definition of the disease while 25.3% gave an incorrect definition with the majority considering the disease like cancer.
For those who were knowledgeable about Lupus, 5.8% first learned about it in Newspaper Articles, 13% through School Research, 22.9% from Television/Radio Stations,15.9% through Social Media, 1.2% learned of it when they were diagnosed with it and 41.2% developed some knowledge of Lupus because they know people who are battling with the disease.
The great majority of respondents, 87% do not believe enough is being done to raise Lupus awareness.
The medication for the treatment of Lupus could go up to $100,000 per month. Indications showed that 85.3% of those surveyed would be unable to afford this treatment and 12.3% were indecisive.
Upon completing the survey, 88.3% stated that they are more curious to learn about Lupus and ll.7% stated they are not interested.
For more information about Lupus, please visit Lupus Foundation of Jamaica’s (LFJ) website at www.lupusfoundationjamaica.org, contact their helpline at 876-778-3892 or visit their Learning Centre on 7 Barbados Avenue, Kingston 5. To volunteer or make donations, contact LFJ at 876-754-8458.