Maharashtra’s HIV patients to be screened for hepatitis infections in 2019
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 bornmumbai Updated: Sep 16, 2018 00:16 IST
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.
First Published: Sep 16, 2018 00:13 IST