World Hepatitis Day: don’t wait, get tested

    • Brief

    • Viruses are the most common cause of damage to the liver called hepatitis. However, it can also be caused by the use of hard drugs, certain medications, poisons and alcohol.

      Common symptoms include tiredness, flu-like symptoms like a running nose, dark coloured pee, pale stools, unexplainable weight loss, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.

      Most people in Nigeria who have hepatitis (almost 20 million people) do not know that they have the disease. These 20 million people are not getting treated, are passing on the disease to other people and will die from complications of the disease. We can change this. Get tested for hepatitis and receive treatment when you are tested positive for the disease.

      Hepatitis can be stopped if people get tested, practice safe sex, vaccinate babies at birth, and vaccinate vulnerable adults. People living with hepatitis must get treated. You can learn more about living with hepatitis by reading this article: living with chronic hepatitis B.

    • Hepatitis in Nigeria

    • In Nigeria, 20 million people are infected with viral hepatitis and most of these people do not know that they have the disease. They pass the virus on to others when they have sex (vaginal or anal) without using a condom or sharing needles when injecting drugs.

      By testing, vaccinating and treating people for hepatitis, we can end the disease in Nigeria for good.

      Testing for hepatitis is convenient. You can test yourself at home using a hepatitis test kit that you can buy from pharmacies in most parts of Nigeria. If you test positive, visit a healthcare provider for treatment. If you test negative, talk to your healthcare provider about vaccination against hepatitis.

      You can go yo any public or private healthcare provider to request a test. It usually costs between 2,000 naira and 5,000 naira. This month, some NGOs and public health centres offer free tests. Ask about this at the public health centre closest to you.

    • How you and others can help

    • You can help by getting tested yourself and by sharing information about hepatitis with family and friends. You can get more information to support your care by reading this article: living with hepatitis B.

      As a healthcare provider you can help with the following:

      • Join the governments and other organizations in creating awareness about hepatitis: symptoms, testing and treatment.
      • Be proactive about finding cases of hepatitis in your community, especially in high-risk populations.
      • Ensure easy access to testing.
      • Provide prompt treatment.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Hepatitis is a preventable disease, and we can stop it if we all do our part.

      • Get tested, don't wait.
      • Get vaccinated, don't wait.
      • Get treatment, don't wait.
      • Continue to practice safer sex and personal hygiene, don't wait.