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Experts link re-using piercing, tattooing tools to hepatitis

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Medical experts have raised the alarm over rising cases of hepatitis worldwide, saying re-using piercing and tattooing tools such as needles and ink were some of the practices driving the disease globally.

 

This comes as Nigeria prepares to mark the 2018 World Hepatitis Day, which is commemorated globally on July 28. It is aimed to raise global awareness of the hepatitis virus, and help link those diagnosed with Hepatitis C to health care.

 

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver. It’s commonly caused by a viral infection, but there are other possible causes of hepatitis. These include autoimmune hepatitis and hepatitis that occurs as a secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the most common ways to contract the hepatitis virus are: re-using drug equipment that was used by someone else, re-using electrolysis or acupuncture tools, getting a blood transfusion or organ transplant that was not screened for Hepatitis C and sharing or borrowing personal care items that may have blood on them.

In addition, having anal sex without a condom, especially when blood is present and when one of the partners has HIV or another sexually transmitted infection(STIs), is also a veritable source to spread the hepatitis virus.

The WHO estimates that viral Hepatitis causes 1.34 million deaths a year. Viral Hepatitis is one of the largest global health threats of our time, causing two in every three liver cancer deaths. Hepatitis C is a virus that targets the liver, causing the organ to fail.

According to WorldHepatitisDay.org (embed), 300 million people living with viral Hepatitis are unaware. A cure for Hepatitis C and treatment and vaccine for Hepatitis B however exist.

It usually takes two blood tests to determine one’s Hepatitis C status. The first test checks to see if you’ve ever come in contact with the virus, while the second test checks to see if you currently have the virus in your system.

The average person could live with the virus for 20 to 30 years without feeling sick. Many don’t find out they have Hepatitis C until after major liver damage has occurred.

Worldwide, 300 million people are living with viral hepatitis unaware. “Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost,” the Worldhepatitisday.org, stated, adding, “we call on people from across the world to take action, raise awareness and join in the quest to find the missing millions.”

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