Viral Hepatitis Leads HIV and Other Infections As Worldwide Cause of Deaths

Although we have been told by experts that approximately 10 times the number of people worldwide have chronic viral hepatitis infection than HIV infection, for many years, the significance of risk of death from HIV has been given an advantage over that from viral hepatitis. The global burden of death and disability due to viral hepatitis has not been trumpeted to the general population compared to that of HIV.   Given this, Jeffrey Stanaway from the University of Washington and his colleagues studied the global morbidity and mortality for acute viral hepatitis in order to compare its significance to commonly recognized global causes of death such as Tuberculosis and HIV.

According to an article published in the July 8th edition of a world recognized journal, The Lancet, “Hepatitis B and C have become leading causes of death and disability worldwide, as other major communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) have come under better control”. Stanaway’s team found that, “between 1990 and 2013, global viral hepatitis deaths increased from 890,000 to 1.45 million — a 63% rise”. Therefore, “Unlike most communicable diseases, the absolute burden and relative rank of viral hepatitis increased between 1990 and 2013.”

An important cause for this change in morbidity and mortality cause stated by senior author Graham Cooke in an Imperial College London news release was, “although there are effective treatments and vaccines for viral hepatitis, there is very little money invested in getting these to patients — especially compared to malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB,”. I agree!! I believe it is time that we instituted the World Health Assembly’s global viral hepatitis action plan, and ensured that proper funding from the participating countries is placed into funding the actions identified by the plan. Our focus should be in all areas of viral hepatitis concern, but especially in areas where lack of funding has led to serious levels of viral hepatitis infection.

Published July 18, 2016 by Luther Virgil