Hepatitis 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV: experts

Lahore—The virus of Hepatitis is 50 to 100 times more infectious than HIV as 150,000 people die of this disease every year in Pakistan.
This was stated by medical experts at a seminar organized by Khidmat-e-Khalq Citizen Community Board in connection with creating awereness among the people about hepatitis at a local hotel on Sunday. Speaking on this occasion, Prof Dr Zahid Yasin Hashmi, former Principal Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad said that carelessness on part of the non-registered medical practitioners and barbers was a big reason behind the spread of deadly Hepatitis C. He said the Hepatitis-B and C viruses spread when blood, semen, or another bodily fluid from an infected person enters the body of another. Patients do not come to know soon after they get infected, increasing the chances of virus affecting others, said the doctor.
Appreciating the free of cost humanity services rendered by Khidmat-e-Khalq Citizen Community Board, a social projected initiated by ChenOne Foundation, Dr Zahid Yasin said the underprivileged patients of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C hailing from the region of the West Punjab were being provided free of cost expensive specialized medical treatment at Liver and General Hospital. He said that around 4.5 percent of total Pakistani population was hepatitis-C infected, whereas 2.5 percent of the population was hepatitis-B patient.
Dr Prof Aamir Haleem, while advising people to desist from using injections, said that 1.5 billion injections were administered to patients in Pakistan annually and usage of unsafe injections was causing spread of hepatitis among the people in the country. “The practice of using injection has been abolished in the developed countries of the world but in Pakistan this practice is continue,” he added.
Dr Ramazan Qureshi, gastroenterologist, said hepatitis was an asymptomatic disease with no symptoms. “Patients visit doctors at a much later stage. Awareness and vaccination is the first line of defence. People should avoid alternative medicines for the treatment of hepatitis,” he said.
Prof Dr Zarfishan Tahir, bacteriologist from Institute of Public Health, said that there were six types of hepatitis, saying that the government was providing expensive treatment including PCR test and Interferon drug for treatment of hepatitis B.
Speaking on this occasion, Mian Muhammad Kashif Ashfaq, Chief Executive of Pakistan Furniture Council and ChenOne Foundation, said a lot of people live below the poverty line in the region of West Punjab, so they cannot afford costly treatment of Hepatitis C, a deadly disease, which is prevailing due to the polluted water in the area. He said the Interferon injections were being given to underprivileged patients free of cost at Toba Tek Singh medical institutions under the umbrella of Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation.—APP

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