World Hepatitis Day is celebrated on July 28 every year to create awareness about the disease and how it affects people all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, on average there are 4 crore people who chronically suffer from Hepatitis B in India. Similarly more than 60 lakh people suffer from Hepatitis C.
What is Hepatitis?
Before we move on to learning about why creating awareness about Hepatitis is important, it is imperative to understand the disease itself and the effect it has on the infected.
Hepatitis is primarily caused by the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). The other strains are named as Hepatitis B, C, D and E. The disease infects the liver of the patient causing it to inflate. This inflation thwarts the liver from performing its functions normally.
The symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
Types of Hepatitis
As aforementioned, there are 5 main types of Hepatitis that affect people. They are Hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. Among these, Hepatitis A and E are generally caused due to the consumption of contaminated food or water. Basically, Hepatitis is transmitted through the fecal-oral route.
Other methods of transmission, generally for strains, B, C and D of the Hepatitis virus include use of contaminated or unsensitized (medical) equipment, intrusive medical procedures. In some cases, Hepatitis may be hereditary or caused by sexual activity.
World Hepatitis Day Importance
The World Hepatitis Day is dedicated to the people suffering from Hepatitis and their friends & families to come together to share opinions and concerns. It is a day to celebrate the progress we have made in medicine thus far and to deliberate ways to meet the present exigencies.
At Risk Groups/Factors
More than at-risk groups, there are factors that can amplify chances of Hepatitis infection. These are:
- Unavailability of clean water supply
- Poor drainage and sanitation facilities.
- People living in slum areas.
- Living in close quarters with an infected person.
- Being sexually involved with someone diagnosed with Hepatitis until they are fully cured.
- Consumption of large amounts of alcohol as it weakens the liver.
- Use of recreational drugs lowers overall immunity of the body.
Hepatitis Day Theme 2021
The World Hepatitis Day Theme 2021 is “Hepatitis Can’t Wait”. The theme conveys the urgency of the situation in tackling the disease and finding a cure for it.
The World Hepatitis Day Theme 2020 was “Hepatitis-free future”.
What to Do on World Hepatitis Day?
This is a day for the medical communities, political organizations and volunteer groups to come together to raise awareness about the disease. More importantly, it is important to create dialogue about how to prevent the infection by maintaining a good standard of living and a healthy lifestyle.
Since this is a contagious disease, it is also important to dissolve any taboo revolving around it so that patients can comfortably seek the necessary help and medication.
- Hepatitis E generally affects pregnant women.
- Hepatitis A is acute or short-term in nature. The other strains, particularly Hepatitis B, are long-standing and recurring.
- There are vaccines present against all strains of Hepatitis.
- Liver transplant is one of the methods of curing Hepatitis. However, this treatment does not guarantee 100% recovery.
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