Doctor with psoriasis patient

Treat Psoriasis Seriously: A Q&A with the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) for World Psoriasis Day

October 24, 2018

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n October 29, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), a non-profit organization uniting national and regional psoriasis associations from around the globe, will promote World Psoriasis Day, an annual global advocacy and awareness campaign.

To mark the occasion, we sat down with Patrik Vuorio, executive director of IFPA, to discuss the ongoing global burden of psoriasis and how the global community can support patients living with the disease.

Question: Can you discuss the current global burden of psoriasis? 

Patrik Vuorio (PV): Psoriasis is a chronic, non-communicable disease (NCD) affecting more than 125 million people across the world. Despite its significant global impact, psoriasis is not always well-understood – although psoriasis has observable effects on the skin of patients, it is actually an autoimmune disease. In addition to skin plaques or scaling, psychological and economic barriers are also closely associated with the disease for many patients, including low self-esteem due to stigma, or issues associated with the cost or availability of efficacious treatment.  

In addition, psoriasis-related issues often extend beyond the initial diagnosis. It’s estimated that up to one third of those living with psoriasis go on to develop psoriatic arthritis, a type of inflammatory disease affecting the joints and tendons of the body. Psoriasis is also connected to additional comorbidities, with patients experiencing an increased risk of diabetes or heart disease. 

Question: What are the goals of World Psoriasis Day? 

Treat Psoriasis Seriously

PV: Despite the large and growing prevalence of psoriasis across the world, the disease still receives considerably less attention and research funding than some other NCDs. Each year, we collaborate with our 56-member countries to set a theme and execute awareness initiatives around World Psoriasis Day, to help raise the psoriasis flag and educate about ongoing needs in the space.  

This year’s theme is PsoSerious: Treat Psoriasis Seriously, Our Lives Depend On It. Our goal is not only to raise awareness of psoriasis as a condition, but also educate on the additional physical, psychological and economic effects the disease has on patients. Our hope is that these ongoing initiatives will help urge local, national and global health authorities give more attention to the treatment of psoriasis and ensure proper access to therapies for all patients.  

Question: How can people support IFPA in observing World Psoriasis Day?

PV: There are a number of materials that individuals can utilize to help show their support for patients on World Psoriasis Day, including social media web cards, postcards, etc. Both IFPA and partners, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, will also be sharing information throughout the week of World Psoriasis Day, which users can share with their networks to continue spreading awareness. 

You can also wear orange and blue, the official colors of World Psoriasis Day, and use the hashtag #WPD18 on your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with posts from our partners, patients and supporters around the world.

Question: What is IFPA’s overarching message to patients with psoriasis?

PV: The most important message for psoriasis patients, is that it is in everyone’s best interest that psoriasis is treated seriously.  

World Psoriasis Day is just one day. In order to continue to this great work, it’s important to keep having these conversations year-round, to show ongoing support and lessen social stigma.  

Talk to a neighbor, talk to a coworker. Discuss how we can continue to be helpful in understanding and supporting those living with psoriasis. You don’t have to be a formal member of the advocacy community to help shape dialogue and move the needle toward better care and access to treatment; just treat psoriasis seriously – because lives depend on it.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is proud to partner with IFPA to celebrate World Psoriasis Day. Learn more about IFPA by visiting its website: www.ifpa-pso.com