World Hepatitis Day
July 27, 2011
This Thursday (July 28) is World Hepatitis Day! Hepatitis is when your liver is inflamed, and five viruses are known to cause it. Here are our top five reasons we care.
1) A lot of people with HIV are also infected with hepatitis because it's a similar mode of transmission. In fact, the CDC reports that 50-90% of people who contracted HIV through intravenous drug use are living with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
2) One in twelve people in the world are infected with either hepatitis B or C, according to the World Hepatitis Alliance.
3) At a presentation by ViiV today at The Damien Center, hepatitis drugs can often interfere with HIV drugs. Sometimes, this makes doctors choose between treating HIV or treating the hepatitis.
4) The CDC also notes that HCV is more serious in people who are also infected with HIV. A coinfection (when a person has more than one infection) leads to quicker liver damage.
5) Your liver is part of what cleans your blood and gets rid of toxins. If left untreated, people with viral hepatitis can have liver scarring (cirrhosis), which can lead to liver cancer, liver failure, death, and more. The good news is that we have vaccines for hepatitis A and B and treatment for all forms of viral hepatitis - you just need to get tested and know!
6) (BONUS!) A bonus reason that we care about hepatitis is because some people can go for years without having any symptoms. It's very important that you are tested for hepatitis as regularly as you're tested for HIV!
For more information about World Hepatitis Day, please visit the World Hepatitis Alliance.
Have you had your vaccinations for hepatitis A and B? Have you also been tested for hepatitis C? What are you doing to stay safe? Let us know!