Social media stars join fight against ignorance and discrimination

More than 30,000 Singaporeans over a period of two weeks have joined the social media campaign designed to debunk the myth that psoriasis is contagious.

The campaign by the Psoriasis Association of Singapore is called #PSingapore, and is based on the unusual spelling of the word ‘psoriasis’ and the distinctive silent ‘P’. The campaign was launched in October to celebrate World Psoriasis Day.

Singapore social media users are encouraged to post photos of themselves holding ‘#P’ signs in front of words that start with the letter ‘S’, applying the strange silent ‘p’ spelling in psoriasis to the world around them.

To help get the message out, Singapore’s hottest social media talents have joined the cause to educate their audiences about psoriasis and encouraging them to join the #PSingapore campaign.

The social media celebrities, who together have more than half a million followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, include:

  • Tree Potatoes - Singaporean YouTube comedy troupe
  • Wah!Banana – Singaporean YouTube comedy troupe
  • Dr JiaJia and Big Bro - Singaporean YouTube comedy troupe
  • Roseanne Tang – Singaporean lifestyle boggers
  • Audrey Faith – Singaporean lifestyle blogger
  • Xavier Ong – Singaporean lifestyle blogger
  • Eunice Annabel – Singaporean lifestyle blogger

To date the #PSingapore campaign has received more than 30,000 ‘likes’ on Instagram after users read a message of support for psoriasis patients from a social media star.

The video ‘It’s alright sis!’ by Dr JiaJia and Big Bro has had more than 9,500 views in the last two weeks. And video by comedy team Tree Potatoes has had more than 4,600 views. The original music video “The Psoriasis Man” has almost 7,000 views across YouTube and Facebook.

President of PAS, Dr Colin Theng said one way the #PSingapore campaign has been most effective is by tackling a tough issue with one of the best medicines of all – humour.

“Videos like ‘It’s alright sis!’ by Dr JiaJia and Big Bro help people understand the frustration people with psoriasis experience every day. These two young Singaporeans have used their humour to increase awareness of what is a serious health issue.”

“Psoriasis is not contagious, although many Singaporeans mistakenly believe it is. That’s why we need to get the word out about psoriasis.”

“Some people refuse to sit next to a psoriasis patient or get up and move away when the patient sits down as if the patient is dirty or contagious in some way. This hurtful behaviour is caused by a lack of understanding of the disease.”

“Each of the 30,000 people who have posted or “Liked photos” using the #PSingapore hashtag have advanced the fight against the discrimination and ignorance psoriasis patients face every day.”

“We appreciate the help of all the social media stars and bloggers who have helped get this movement started and hope that the public will also join us in the #PSingapore campaign so more people will know about psoriasis,” Dr Theng said.

The Burden of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an incurable disease that causes scaly and flaking skin, red and inflamed patches, as well as pain and itching, often covering a person’s entire body. No one knows what causes it.

In Singapore, between one and two per cent of the population are in a daily battle with their psoriasis. Managing their physical symptoms is often the easy part. Psoriasis patients face discrimination including being ridiculed, ostracised or even being fired from their jobs due to the public’s ignorance of the condition.

Many are shunned even by family who wrongly believe the illness is contagious, or due to poor hygiene. The reality for Singaporeans living with psoriasis is that:

  • Psoriasis sufferers are three times more likely to be unemployed than the general population due to their illnessi ;
  • The average monthly income of psoriasis patients is well below the national averageii ;
  • They are more likely to suffer depressioniii , anxietyiv , sexual dysfunctionv , and even earlier deathsvi due to their condition; and
  • Compared to patients in other countries, Singaporeans are more likely to suffer from the severe form of the diseasevii .

- End -

About the Psoriasis Association of Singapore

The Psoriasis Association of Singapore (PAS) is a non-profitable organisation formed in 1982 with the encouragement and support from the late Professor V.S.Rajan. Since then, the Association is run by volunteers who are either Psoriasis patients or relatives of patient, professionals, nurses/staff and social workers from National Skin Centre. Doctors from National Skin Centre and from the private sectors are invited to be our Medical Consultants. The Association has also received much support from members of the dermatology profession and the Dermatology Society of Singapore.

PAS's objective to disseminate medical information and support to a group of members who are suffering from the chronic skin condition. It is an avenue for patients to meet to discuss and exchange ideas on how to cope on living with psoriasis. It aims to foster co-ordination and development of all activities in relation to psoriasis. And to promote the study of the causes and treatment of psoriasis and to disseminate medical information concerning psoriasis.

Social Media Links

  • Shenkel B, (2010) Psoriasis Disease Burdens in Singapore
  • Ibid
  • Langley et al. Ustekinumab significantly improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, and skin-related quality of life in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis: Results for a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, May 10, 2010.
  • Ibid.
  • Guenther et al. Impact of Ustekinumab on Quality of Life and Sexual Difficulties Associated with Psoriasis: Results from Phase 3 clinical trials, Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, March 2010.
  • Gulliver WP, MacDonald D, Gladney N, Alaghehbandan R, Proton R and Baker KA, Long term prognosis and comorbidities associated with psoriasis in the New Foundland and Labrador Founder Population, Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery, Vol 15, No1 (January/February,) 2011:pp 37-47
  • Zhao N, Shenkel B, (2010). Asia Pacific Psoriasis Disease Burden Study