It is estimated that 150–200 million people, approximately 3% of the world’s population, are living with chronic hepatitis C. About 3–4 million people are infected per year, and more than 350,000 people die yearly from hepatitis C related diseases.
During 2010 it is estimated that 16,000 people died from acute infections while 196,000 deaths occurred from liver cancer secondary to the infection. In India, an estimated 12 million people are infected with hepatitis C. The numbers can be much higher, as most do not know they are infected.
According to PTI, the president of Hepatitis Foundation of Tripura, Dr Pradip Bhaumik recently said at a conference in Guwahati, that a Hepatitis C free India is an achievable goal if all stakeholders work together and seize the opportunity offered by availability of new scientific innovations.
“India is facing a serious threat from Hepatitis C virus (HCV). It is, however, going to take a lot more than low-cost drugs to get patients cured,” said Bhaumik in a press release today.
“Opportunity exists within the HIV Infrastructure in the race against HCV. A robust awareness drive, similar to the one adopted for combating HIV, should be initiated with focus on screening and early diagnosis,” he said.
“HCV as an issue poses a much greater disease burden and is several times more virulent than HIV. At present we are unaware of the magnitude of the problem. It is imperative to undertake large field studies to identify pockets and better understand HCV epidemiology,” Dr Bhaumik said.
“Once we know where exactly the problem exists, measures to ensure affordable and effective treatment should be undertaken,” the medical expert said.
“Another issue is, at present we are unaware of the magnitude of the problem. It is imperative to undertake large field studies to identify pockets and better understand HCV epidemiology,” he suggested.
Both HIV and HCV infection share the same routes of transmission and it is not surprising that co-infection of these viruses is common, studies suggest.
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