A medical doctor working with Centre for Disease and AIDS Control (CDAC), Dr. Nicholas Ajen, has emphasized the need for Nigerians to get tested in order to be sure of their Hepatitis B status, a disease which causes inflammation of the liver and kills sufferers faster than the much-dreaded HIV/AIDS.

Ajen made this clarion call on Monday, 8th August, 2016, at a sensitization programme organised by CDAC at the headquarters of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), No. 23 Kigoma Street, Wuse Zone 7, Abuja-FCT, informing that the seminar was borne out of the fact that on the 28th of July every year, the World Hepatitis Day is marked after which they go round on sensitization to further drive home the message.

He listed four (4) causes of Hepatitis, namely, alcohol induced hepatitis, drug induced hepatitis, auto immune/hereditary hepatitis and viral hepatitis, elaborating that the viral hepatitis has type A, B, C, D and E viruses and the most common among them is Hepatitis B, which could not be contracted except through blood contact.

According to him, this makes Hepatitis B worse than the other viral hepatitis types because if any member of a family gets infected, automatically, all members of the family would be infected; adding that the symptoms of the disease include upper and abdominal pains, dark urine, itching skins, clay colour skin, blisters in the mouth, and dirty environment.

He further expatiated on the need for the audience to equally know their HIV status, which will help them to know the root cause of any symptoms they may experience in their bodies instead of just treating such symptoms without necessarily knowing the root cause of the health condition.

In concluding, Dr. Nicholas Ajen advised that People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) among us in the society must not be stigmatized; rather, they must be taken good care of.

At the end of the sensitisation programme, over one hundred and twenty (120) NICO staffers voluntarily tested to know their Hepatitis B and HIV status. 

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit