‘Viral Hepatitis B, C could be a larger epidemic than HIV’

Patients from remote districts of Punjab and Haryana joined hands to spread awareness about the growing number of Hepatitis-infected people at a session organised by The National Liver Foundation (NLF) here on Saturday.

According to experts, as many as 12 million people may be chronically infected in India and most are unaware of it. “Lack of awareness about the disease and its treatment, coupled with the fact that it has no visible symptoms in its early stages, has contributed to its spread, particularly in northern India,” experts pointed.

Global Health Advocates India executive director Bobby John said, “The situation seems grim, even with the currently known numbers of people with the disease. Estimations say there are between 25-40 million people living with Hepatitis B and C, far higher than the prevalence of HIV or any cancer.”

“These diseases, being silent killers with long gestation periods, have so far not attracted the attention of policy makers. Our attempt would be to draw their attention and make a comprehensive policy towards addressing the issue,” said Samir Shah, founder trustee of National Liver Foundation (NLF).

NLF is a voluntary, non-profit organisation promoting awareness and prevention of liver diseases in India.

 The story appeared in The Hindustan Times on February 16th, 2014. 
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