The Neglected Killer Virus : Hepatitis AKA The Death Sentence
Being infected with Hepatitis B is having a fatal disease. Once you are diagnosed with the disease, it is like a death sentence,”’.
12 years after, Robert, an Engineering student at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria, had to drop out of school. He fell seriously ill with an Illness the doctors initially diagnosed as Auto immune disease.
Few weeks passed and Robert still did not feel well. One day, he decided to get tested, during one of the free screening and testing activities organized by the Hepatitis Foundation of Nigeria.
The test results came back, and He tested positive for Hepatitis B, and sadly has degenerated into Liver Cancer.
“Even though I had heard about the disease, I did not think I could have it,” says Robert.
“I was confused and did not know what to do. A nurse of the screening team took me aside, gave me some counseling and referred me to see a physician.”
After an extensive talk with the Physician, I just confirmed what I earlier suspected.
There is a cure for Hepatitis but not for Cancer.
If fate had brought us together a little earlier, perhaps I would have lived a full life.
Robert Okoro died 6 years later.
Without treatment, the median survival for stage A liver cancer is 3 years.
With treatment, between 50 and 70 out of 100 people (between 50 – 70%) will survive for 5 years or more.
There is limited data available for the specific types of viral hepatitis in Nigeria.
But, According to a new report from the Global Burden of Disease, the Hepatitis viruses kill 1.34 million people a year.
By contrast, HIV/AIDS claims 1 million lives a year.
That liver damage is the main cause of death for people who are infected.
There's one more thing the viruses have in common: They're an OVERLOOKED CLUSTER OF KILLERS.
People with long-term hepatitis infections often develop cancer in their 30s to 50s.
Just like HIV, the Hepatitis B virus could be transmitted through blood and unlike HIV, through body fluid (e.g Saliva). This makes it