4 percent of Vietnamese have hepatitis C: workshop hinh anh 1About 4 percent of Vietnam’s population get infected with hepatitis C. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – About 4 percent of Vietnam’s population get infected with hepatitis C but they are not aware of the infection, thus increasing the risk of the virus spread among the community, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on February 1.

Tieu Thi Thu Van, Director of the HCM City HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre, said the Ministry of Health issued national guidelines on hepatitis C diagnosis and treatment in 2016.

However, she said, most of the patients are not aware of their condition, especially those at risks of HIV infection or living with HIV carriers, who are possible to contract hepatitis C.

With the support of PATH, an international health organisation driving transformative innovation to save lives, and Gilead Sciences, Inc, since February 2018, 2,500 people will be tested for hepatitis C free. Besides, up to 90 percent of hepatitis C carriers will receive treatment.

Dr. Kimberly Green, Director of HIV/TB and Non-communicable Diseases Programme of PATH, said 43-99 percent of injection drug users and 29 percent of men who have sex with men get infected with hepatitis C.

According to the World Health Organisation, hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus which is a bloodborne virus. The most common modes of infection are through exposure to small quantities of blood. This may happen through injection during drug use, unsafe injection practices, unsafe health care, and the transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.

Globally, an estimated 71 million people have chronic hepatitis C infection. -VNA