[Hansen's disease: history and policy in the state of São Paulo].Hansenol Int 1987; 12(1):1-7HI
Hanseniasis is an illness whose specific characteristics made it different from all the other illnesses. The stigma surrounding it contributed, throughout the times, to make the "leper" identified as someone who brought with him danger and death, justifying discriminatory procedures. The hanseniasis history study in the state of São Paulo, Brazil, makes the repetition of this posture evident, being observed since the colonial times until the present century the continuity in the adoption of segregation procedures, variable at times, but not in it's intensity. The growth of the hanseniasis prevalence rate in São Paulo, even after the sulphones advent, compells us to reconsider the phenomenon, whose explication extrapolates the atrictly biologic scope, pointing out to the need of a better historic and social analysis of the disease.