Lupus Awareness Campaign Aims to Let African-American and Hispanic Women Know They Are at Higher Risk

Ines Martins, PhD avatar

by Ines Martins, PhD |

Share this article:

Share article via email
Lupus awareness effort

The Lupus Foundation of America and American College of Rheumatology have started a campaign to let African-American and Hispanic women know that they are at higher risk of developing lupus.

The aim of the “Be Fierce, Take Control” campaign is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of lupus among the two groups. A key reason is that healthcare professionals often misinterpret lupus symptoms for another disease, so the more that African-American and Hispanic women know, the more likely they are to ask doctors to check for lupus.

The ultimate goal of the awareness effort is an early diagnosis: It is critical to receiving appropriate treatment and preventing lasting consequences of the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is helping to fund the campaign, said lupus is two to three times more prevalent in young black and Hispanic women than in women of other races. The disease strikes mostly women of child-bearing age.

Not only there are more cases among African-Americans and Hispanics, the impact of the disease is often more severe. The first symptoms tend to show up at an earlier age among the two groups. And the disease generally brings more serious complications among them as well.

The campaign will use social media, video, digital advertising and audience engagement to reach out to African-Americans and Hispanics.

A key component of the message will be lupus signs and symptoms. Another component will be resources such as a Could it be lupus? questionnaire. The campaign will also let women know what to do if they suspect they have the disease.

“Reducing the time to a lupus diagnosis is an organizational priority for the Lupus Foundation of America,” Sandra C. Raymond, the group’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release. “It is unacceptable that these young women in the prime of their lives often bear the brunt and burden of this disease. Getting these young women diagnosed and treated earlier is critical to reducing health disparities and improving long-term outcomes and quality of life.”

“We have been long-time partners with the Lupus Foundation of America in the fight against lupus, and are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate on this important campaign,” said Sheryl McCalla, senior director of collaborative initiatives at the American College of Rheumatology. “We are urging women not only to take control of their own health, but to support the conversation around health in these communities, and to take their symptoms seriously and consult with their healthcare providers.”