Today the 28th of July 2017, is World Hepatitis Day, where all over the world, the spotlight is placed on Hepatitis, the viral infection of the liver that is presently causing more deaths than HIV – AIDS.
There are about 6 Types of Hepatitis – Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. However, Hepatitis B and C are the ones that are potentially most life threatening. Viral hepatitis is a major global public health problem. Globally, an estimated 257 million people were living with hepatitis B (HBV) infection, and 71 million people were living with hepatitis C (HCV) infection in 2015. The tragedy is that most of the people infected with hepatitis do not even know, as they do not have access to testing, talk less of treatment.
How are Hepatitis B and C contracted?
- Via contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected person – saliva, semen, menstrual blood, blood transfusion.
- Mother to child transmission during child birth.
- Reuse of infected needles during medical procedures or among drug users.
- During medical or dental procedures when infected instruments are used.
Treatment Of Hepatitis B and C.
Hepatitis C is easily treated with drugs that can cure it within 3 months. However, Hepatitis B has no cure. There are however drugs that can be used to suppress it and slow the process of injury to the liver. When left untreated, Hepatitis B can lead to liver cirrhosis and Liver cancer.
There is no known vaccine for Hepatitis C (though research is ongoing in this regard). There is however a vaccine for Hepatitis B that has been available since the 80s. This vaccine adequately protects you from being infected with Hepatitis B. As we always say, Prevention is better than cure. Ensure your children are vaccinated. if you are not sure of your status, please get tested for both hepatitis B and C. if you test negative and are not sure if you were vaccinated, you can always take the vaccine. it is safe. cheap and effective. If positive, it’s not a death sentence, you can be placed on treatment that will slow the progression of the disease.
You can always contact us at Healthy-Pink initiative if you would like to organise screening sessions at your organisation. we can also organise group vaccinations and education for your organisation.
Avoid needles and injections as much as possible. Always ask if there is an oral tablet you can take instead as tablets are safer. Also try to avoid procedures like tattoos and other procedures that require instrumentation. Use a reputable health care service where the principles of universal protection and safety are adhered to.
Hepatitis B and C are a major public health problem, most affected people do not even know they are. So, get tested, vaccinated and treated (if positive). Also spread the word. If you like this post, please share. Also feel free to comment, contribute or ask questions.
Till next post, do stay safe and healthy-pink and get tested for Hepatitis B and C.
Dr. Anire Oduko.