The outbreak of a certain disease condition (well, the first reported one) around the 17th and 18th centuries has now become one that is still terrorizing humankind to date. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines this disease known as “hepatitis” as an inflammation of the liver caused by various infectious viruses and non-infectious agents, thereby leading to a range of health problems, some of which can be fatal.
The interesting background of viral hepatitis dates back to thousands of years. When such pathogens initially infected humans, a repeated natural cycle came into existence with the potential to infect billions of people, decimating the population and leaving thousands of lives with dreadful consequences.
I know you saw the title of this brief article, and you probably wondered what the words after the colon meant. Well, it was the only way I could come up with a wordplay on hepatitis. It was the only way I could come up with words that describe my anger towards the disease in a poetic way (clears throat).
‘Help her tie this’ is a call to not only ‘her’ but also ‘him’. It is a call to all of us. The fight against viral hepatitis must be accelerated now more than ever. Everyone needs to be aware of how crucial testing and treatment are for those who require them. There is a dying need for immediate action to end the stigma and discrimination.
As for testing, it comes with a lot of benefits. The hepatitis virus has five major strains: A, B, C, D, and E. They all cause liver disease, but there are key differences between them, such as how the disease is transmitted, how severe it is, where it occurs, and how it is prevented. In particular, types B and C are the most common causes of viral hepatitis-related fatalities, liver cancer, liver cirrhosis, and chronic illness in hundreds of millions of people. According to the WHO, Hepatitis B or C is thought to affect 354 million people globally, and yet for the majority, diagnosis and treatment are still out of reach. The benefits of testing or screening include:
Even if an individual feels well, they could still be infected – This does not need much explanation. Various diseases are now regarded as ‘silent killers’, and Hepatitis C (in particular) is no stranger to this.
The test is simple and quick – Anyone can find out if they have ever had the virus with a quick blood test. Although some clinics have quick versions that can be read in as little as 20 minutes, findings are often returned in a few days.
Those who are infected and are aware of their condition can protect their families and friends – Even if they do not exhibit symptoms, infected persons might spread the virus to others through their blood (remember I said it is a silent nonsense). These people would know the steps to take to avoid this. They would take special care to protect wounds and refrain from sharing items like razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes, needles for injecting drugs or steroids, and equipment for body piercings or tattoos.
It prepares those infected for early treatment – This also does not require a lot of explanation. It is comparable to knowing about a test or exam in school. You would undoubtedly get ready for it. Everybody would get ready for it (maybe not everyone, though, but, erm… well, you get the point).
Treatment is also very important. I think you already know why. One way to wipe something off the face of the earth is to ensure that measures are taken to curb it, maybe by preventing it or by exterminating it (I am talking about diseases, please. Just diseases ). The benefits of treating hepatitis include:
The virus may be suppressed or even eliminated by treatments – Antivirals, a group of drugs used to treat viral infections, are used to treat hepatitis C. Many people completely recover from the infection.
Early treatment can help to prevent liver cancer or liver failure – Getting tested and treated early can stop the hepatitis B and C viruses from triggering cirrhosis or cancer.
The theme for this year’s World Hepatitis Day is ‘I can’t wait’. I, therefore, cannot wait for the day this silent killer will be silenced.
I – Insidious disease
C – Chronic hepatitis can lead to a dead liver
A – Absolutely preventable
N – Number one cause of liver cancer.
T – Transferable from mother to child
W – Wash hands after using the bathroom and before eating
A – Antivirals are effective for treatment
I – Increase water intake
T – Testing and vaccinating should be done as soon as possible.
Courtesy:PharmahubNG Writing Team