World Hepatitis Day: Hepatitis C among drug abusers on rise in J&K

Srinagar: The use of drugs mainly heroin is leading to a scary increase in Hepatitis C cases in J&K as around three among four drug users are Hepatitis C positive in Kashmir.

Dr Yasir Rather Professor, Department of Psychiatry GMC Srinagar said that “we screen every patient for Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B and HIV and as per the hospital-based studies there are around 70 per cent of drug users who are tested positive for Hepatitis C”

He said that that the use of drugs via injection is quite common among drug users and the most common cause of Hepatitis C among them is the sharing of needles.

He said that we have witnessed 70 per cent of the substance users have Hepatitis C and that it is a chronic disease and if not treated on time it can lead to chronic liver disease for the treatment of which patient needs costly anti-viral medications for 3-6 months which becomes another burden on the family members of drug users.

Doctors working with these patients said that the sharing of needles used for injecting drugs is known to transmit diseases among the drug users which adds to the suffering of those affected and their families.

He said that without treatment, Hepatitis C can prove fatal and for most patients, it is a symptom-free disease which spreads silently to other family members and sometimes it can get transmitted to babies from an infected mother.

He added that needle sharing among drug users is the main cause of Hepatitis C in Kashmir and almost every three among four drug users suffers from Hepatitis C and there remain chances of them getting infected with other infections like HIV as well. (KNO)

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