A 31-year-old woman is abandoned by the family as she has been suffering from Hepatitis C. The family has associated hepatitis with HIV and has abandoned the woman.
Gayatri, who hails from Ahmednagar was diagnosed with hepatitis C two years ago. She has been taking treatment since last two years. Now, the virus is settled, but still her husband and in-laws refuse to accept her as they are associating the disease with HIV.
Gayatri’s in-laws are well-educated and doctors informed that her mother-in-law is a head nurse in government hospital of Kolhapur. Dr Sachin Palnitkar, consultant hepatologist from Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, informed, “The woman had come in the hospital for her father’s treatment. In the hospital, she read the sign boards on hepatitis and approached us.”
Since she has consulted doctors at Deenanath hospital in last week, the doctors have been counselling her family, but still they are not ready to accept Gayatri. Doctors say that it not just Gayatri, there are many people who are suffering from misconceptions that society creates.
“No one knows how Gayatri inherited the virus but family does not understand this. She is an MBA and is now suffering from depression. Though, the disease is cured, the misconceptions are not allowing her to live a happy life,” added Palnitkar.
Palnitkar also explained that, there are many misconceptions in society when it comes to hepatitis. People associate it with HIV and think that the person should be isolated in order to eliminate the chances of the virus getting transmitted to the other person.
Dr Ninad Deshmukh, liver transplant surgeon from Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital said, “The most common misconception is that people think it is spread through direct contact (touching), which results into discrimination. People also think that hepatitis B is not curable and the hepatitis will be transmitted to the next generation. So there is a need to raise awareness to nullify these misconceptions.”
Viral hepatitis has been recognized as a serious public health problem in India by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with over 50 million people infected with chronic hepatitis in the country.
Hepatitis B has infected the highest number of people followed by hepatitis C. Besides, hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the most important cause of epidemic hepatitis, where most acute liver failures diagnosed jaundice is attributable to HEV.