- Intravenous drug users (IDU) are at risk as hepatitis C spreads through unsterilized and used syringes.
- The number of drug addicts in Haryana has increased from 774 in 2010 to 3,707 in 2016; no data on hepatitis C in drug addicts using injection as a means to take narcotics.
- Haryana government launched ‘Jeevan Rekha’ in 2013 to provide free hepatitis C treatment to patients from scheduled caste (SC) and below poverty line (BPL) categories.
Gurgaon, 27th July 2018: With a steady rise in the number of drug addicts among the youth in past 7 years and lack of data on intravenous drug users (IDU) affected by hepatitis C (HCV) , Gurgaon is at a grave danger of finding itself in the middle of widespread hepatitis infection.
According to the data by the State Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (SDDTC), Rohtak, the number of drug addicts in Haryana has increased from 774 in 2010 to 3,707 in 2016, a rise of more than 450 per cent. In the year 2017, about 500 addicts were treated in the Gurgaon district.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged that globally, death due to viral hepatitis is higher than AIDS and tuberculosis. Drug abuse in the district increased in past few years and the lack of data about addicts infected by hepatitis C cuts their access to available treatment options. This will have a domino effect among the young generation and can be detrimental in checking the spread of hepatitis,” says Dr.Rajnish Monga, Chief of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.
In 2013, the government of Haryana launched ‘Jeevan Rekha’, a project aimed at providing free treatment of hepatitis C to patients from Scheduled Caste (SC) and Below Poverty Line (BPL) categories while patients from the general category, who were receiving treatment at a subsidized rate, could access free treatment since last year. Earlier this year, the project was extended to all 21 districts in Haryana, becoming the only state to provide free treatment to hepatitis C patients.
“Treatment of hepatitis C is available but we must be careful about the fact that unsterilized syringes are a major reason for the spread of hepatitis B as well for which no curative treatment is available so far,” says Dr.Rajnish Monga, Chief of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Paras Hospital, Gurgaon.
Hepatitis A and E have supportive treatment while hepatitis C have effective therapies available. Vaccination is available for Hepatitis A and B while those for hepatitis E are under human trials and may soon be available.
An estimated 12 million people are suffering from hepatitis C in India, six times the number of HIV/AIDS patients. Hepatitis C is 10 times more infectious than the virus that causes AIDS and is considered a silent killer as symptoms are manifested only when the disease has reached a chronic stage. Around one per cent of the population harbor the virus without knowing it and a blood test can detect the presence of the virus.
Hepatitis is the inflammation of liver leading to liver fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis, or liver cancer. There are many types of hepatitis such as A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis A and E are water borne and spread through contaminated water or food and are treatable through medicines. Hepatitis B, C and D are blood borne. Hepatitis D causes infection only in the presence of hepatitis B.
Healthy balanced diet with exercise of 30 minutes every day keeps the liver healthy. Besides, alcohol is the most common cause of lifestyle related liver disease. Diabetes aggravates fatty liver and weight management is important to prevent a liver disease.
Paras Hospitals Gurgaon is among the leading providers of treatment and care in the field of neurosciences, cardiology, orthopedics, nephrology, gastroenterology, and critical care in India.