Due to the Kovid-19 pandemic, people will not be invited from November 20, when the autumn European Week for Hepatitis and HIV Testing begins.
Source: Guliver / Getty images plus / iStock / SamaraHeisz
Therefore, an online forum was organized to raise awareness about infectious diseases even in emergency situations, but also to make more efforts by the authorities to eliminate viral hepatitis.
The current covida-19 pandemic has changed the perception of viral diseases around the world, but has also helped to delay or completely stop health services, such as vaccination, testing and treatment. He talked about the importance of testing for viral hepatitis in an online forum infectologist prof. Dr. Milotka Fabri, this indicates that people need to know as early as possible whether they have hepatitis B or C.
“Just because we think we don’t have the virus doesn’t mean anything, because hepatitis can’t show symptoms for 10 to 15 years and no one is aware of it. On the one hand, the disease quietly becomes cirrhosis of the liver, and on the other hand, the patient is a potential source of infection.“.
Therefore, it is necessary to test all people to find out their condition.Commercial studies to detect hepatitis C today show accumulated antibodies that can say immunity, but it is much more common for patients to have active disease and the virus in their blood. .
“Therefore, when a positive test is obtained, it is necessary to continue testing in the direction of testing the virus in the blood by means of the PCR technique. When this positive test is obtained, it means that the disease is active. Currently, hepatitis C is curable and the patient should start treatment as soon as possible. in terms of hepatitis B, it is incurable. The virus can only stay under control to pause in the liver, but the medication cannot get out of the liver cells. A basic routine test of HBsAg antigens is performed to detect hepatitis B. If there is an infection, these antigens are present in the bloodand ”, explained prof. Dr. Fabri.
The exact number of patients with hepatitis C in Serbia is not known, but it is estimated that according to the frequency of infection in the surrounding countries we have about 70,000 people infected with HCV.
“Serbian patients with hepatitis B or C are treated with modern antiviral therapy. In the case of hepatitis B, the therapy is the same as in all developed countries. This antiviral therapy is fully available to patients and shows good results. We have a modern direct-acting antiviral therapy that is very effective and well-tolerated, but not available to all patients.In our case, this therapy is only given to the most dangerous patients and patients with cirrhosis, preparing for a transplant, dialysis or being treated for hemophilia. But this is not a typical Serbian patient with hepatitis C. He is middle-aged, has mild liver inflammation and no cirrhosis, so this therapy is not available and we are trying to change that.”He said at the online forum prof. Dr. Tomislav Preveden, President of the Serbian Association of Infectious Diseases.
Ivana Dragojevic, president of the Association of Patients with Liver Diseases Tribune’s “Chronos” called on authorities to speed up the issue of the national strategy for hepatitis and to relax the RHIF criteria for receiving therapy to increase the number of patients treated. According to the current recommendations of the EASL (European Association for the Study of the Liver), all patients with chronic hepatitis C and no contraindications to therapy should be treated with new antiviral drugs.
“A few years ago, the Ministry of Health and RHIF received all the necessary information and arguments to indicate a wrong approach to this problem, as well as suggestions to start a confrontation that would solve this problem, but with detecting and treating sick conditions and educating the general population. After receiving the diagnosis, patients manage it on their own, buy medicines on their own and often pay for the diagnosis themselves during the crisis caused by kovid 19, which is very expensive ”.
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