“Gentle Killer” is closer than it seems. The situation with hepatitis C in Transcarpathia

Nowadays, patients with a deadly disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (also called a "gentle killer" because often people do not notice the disease until it becomes irreversible) can hope only for a miracle. Such is the opinion of charities that work with patients with hepatitis. According to them, now in Ukraine there are over 1 million patients with hepatitis B and 1.2 million – with hepatitis C. Therefore, the International HIV / AIDS Alliance demands from Transcarpathian Regional State Administration among others to recognize the epidemic of hepatitis C in our region.
Ukraine belongs to countries with an average degree of infection. Transcarpathia seemingly does not have high morbidity, but if you look at the overall picture, the region is one of the leading in Ukraine due to various types of hepatitis and diseases arising as a result of hepatitis, such as cirrhosis. 
In most cases, people do not know that they are sick and discover it by accident. Nobody goes to a lab specifically to have checks for the disease done, it is found through tests for other diseases. The problem of viral hepatitis is that it does not always manifest the classic symptoms: jaundice, pain. There are secondary manifestations: skin, arthritis and others that often appear as comorbidities. There may be lesions of the cardiovascular and other systems, not just the liver. 
Hepatitis B and C are transmitted as HIV, that is by any manipulation associated with blood, sexual contact, from mother to child. 
Medical workers who work with patients are in the risk group (so to speak, occupational disease). Of course, the level of patients with hepatitis C is very high among injecting drug users and prostitutes.  
According to the chief doctor of the regional infection clinic Mykhailo Polyak, hepatitis C can be overcome, if the treatment is started timely. The treatment with special pegylated interferons gives a successful outcome in about 70% of cases. However, this treatment is extremely expensive – from 120 to 180 thousand hryvnias. Also, additional drugs are necessary, which are also very expensive. It is clear that very few people can afford such treatment. 
"For several years they have been talking about the state program of treatment of hepatitis C. But so far it has not been adopted. There was only a declaration, with no funds allocated. In some regions there are regional programs – in Sumy, Vinnytsia, large cities. In Transcarpathia there is also a similar program. This year it was allocated 2.6 million hryvnias, 3 million are provided for 2013. This year, medications have already been purchased and 23 patients included in the program are being treated."
It is estimated that about 3% of Ukrainian suffer from hepatitis C. The number of sick people is increasing.  According to experts, by 2015 the number of cases will double.  
Natalia Baleha, the deputy chairman of the Regional Foundation "Council of Life", added: "Since 2008 our foundation have been working with vulnerable groups – injection drug users and prostitutes. About 80% of injecting drug users suffer from this disease and in the current situation they can only hope for miracle. In Transcarpathia the situation is relatively good, because at least some money for the treatment are allocated. And there are regions where they have not even a dime for the treatment of hepatitis."
Due to its "gentleness", hepatitis C proceeds unnoticed, so the best way to fight against it is prevention. Including examination. Mykhailo Polayk says that everyone can have a check done at the Infectious Diseases Hospital free of charge. One only has to go there and get a medical advice, which tests must be done for diagnostics.   

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