HIV pa­tients in state will be screened for hepati­tis in­fec­tions

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - YOURSPACE - HT Correspondent

MUM­BAI:PEO­PLE liv­ing with HIV in the state will be screened for hepati­tis in­fec­tions in 2019, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s health de­part­ment has said.

In a meet­ing held in Delhi on Septem­ber 7, of­fi­cials from the Na­tional AIDS Con­trol Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NACO) said they have found that Ma­ha­rash­tra has 15% of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion liv­ing with HIV – the high­est in the coun­try.

Th­ese pa­tients are at high risk of be­ing in­fected with the hepati­tis virus, com­pared to the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. “Co-in­fec­tion with hepati­tis C is one of the most im­por­tant causes of liver-re­lated deaths in HIV pa­tients. This is why screen­ing this group is very im­por­tant,” said Man­ish Bam­rotiya from NACO. He said the screen­ing will start next year.

Hepati­tis B and C in­fec­tions are trans­mit­ted through un­screened blood trans­fu­sion, use of con­tam­i­nated blood and nee­dles, un­safe sex and from an in­fected mother to her new born. If not treated on time, the virus can ‘silently’ dam­age the liver

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion ‘vi­ral hepati­tis is now recog­nised as a se­ri­ous pub­lic health prob­lem in In­dia. Doc­tors said that many peo­ple with hepati­tis C may not be aware about the in­fec­tion as symp­toms show up later.

“The hepati­tis B virus re­mains dor­mant in the liver for around 25 years. But, one only ex­pe­ri­ences the symp­toms af­ter the liver is dam­aged up to 75%,” said Dr Ravi Mo­henka, trans­plant sur­geon at Global Hos­pi­tals, Parel.

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