140 addicts test positive for Hepatitis C: Patiala health dept
The Patiala health department conducted a screening of 3,000 addicts at the outpatient opioid-assisted treatment (OOAT) clinics and de-addiction centres,where as many as 140 were found to be Hepatitis C positive, an official of the health department said.
The state government is conducting a study in 11 districts to find the number of addicts affected by Hepatitis C in association with the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and the AIDS Control Society of Punjab.
The objective of the study is to help the government assess if a new policy and special measures need to be implemented to treat addicts affected by the disease. The state government has been providing free treatment under the Mukh Mantri Punjab Hepatitis C Relief Fund since June 6, 2016.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that is caused by infected blood transfusion, sharing infected syringes, sharing razor and tooth brushes, unprotected sex; tattoos and piercing using infected needle, and carried from infected mother to child, an official said.
Confirming the numbers, Patiala civil surgeon Dr Harish Malhotra said, “We have tested every addict at the OOAT clinics and de-addiction centres. We are providing them free treatment at government hospitals.”
State programme officer for National Viral Hepatitis Control programme Gagan Grover said, “We have started a study in 11 districts of state to find out the number of addicts suffering from Hepatitis C and other details about them so that new policies for their treatments can be formed.”