Truth about viral hepatitis: Facts, myths and stigma | Health - Hindustan Times

Truth about viral hepatitis: Facts, myths and stigma

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
May 17, 2024 01:21 PM IST

Health expert dispels myths and misinformation about viral hepatitis, shares facts that you should know

The liver is responsible for removing toxins from the blood, storing vitamins and hormone production but viral hepatitis tends to disrupt the function of the liver owing to which one can encounter various problems. 5 viruses that lead to viral hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E and when it comes to transmission - Hepatitis A and E can be acquired through contaminated food or water while hepatitis B and C are transmitted through blood or bodily fluids and Hepatitis D can only infect those who are infected with hepatitis B.

Truth about viral hepatitis: Facts, myths and stigma (Photo by Twitter/NHPINDIA)
Truth about viral hepatitis: Facts, myths and stigma (Photo by Twitter/NHPINDIA)

It is the need of the hour to take enough precautions to keep viral hepatitis at bay as many patients with viral hepatitis tend to suffer in silence owing to the stigma attached to it. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Ameet Mandot, Head - Department of Adult Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Gleneagles Hospital in Mumbai's Parel, shared, “The social stigma surrounding viral hepatitis persists, despite advancements in treatment options. Individuals with hepatitis often face discrimination and misunderstanding, leading to feelings of isolation and shame. This stigma is fueled by misconceptions that the virus is highly contagious or solely transmitted through risky behaviours, such as drug use or unsafe sexual practices.”

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He revealed, “Viral hepatitis can be transmitted via blood transfusions or even during childbirth. By breaking stereotypes and misinformation about the disease, it is essential to help one improve his/her quality of life. It's crucial to challenge these misconceptions and educate the public on the facts about viral hepatitis to promote empathy and support for individuals affected by this condition. One common taboo is the association of hepatitis with lifestyle choices or personal behavior, leading to stigma and discrimination against those affected. This harmful stereotype not only impacts efforts to raise awareness and promote prevention but also creates barriers for individuals seeking testing and even treatment. The misconceptions can have detrimental effects on their mental health and overall well-being.”

Dr Ameet Mandot concluded, “It is crucial to challenge these taboos surrounding viral hepatitis through education, advocacy, and destigmatization efforts. By fostering open conversations, debunking myths, and giving accurate information about the disease, it is possible to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for those affected by hepatitis. Breaking down these taboos is essential to ensure that everyone has access to proper care, support, and resources for managing this serious health condition.”

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