Hepatitis Network urges end to employment discrimination

January 31, 2018

TEHRAN – The head of Iran’s Hepatitis Network has officially demanded elimination of employment discrimination against patients suffering from hepatitis.

In a letter to the Administrative Justice Court, Seyed Moa’yyed Alavian said it is necessary to lift ban on employing hepatitis patients in state bodies, Tasnim reported on Tuesday.

On behalf of 1.6 million hepatitis patients nationwide, Alavian mentioned that some governmental bodies, including the Education Ministry, require pre-employment anti-hepatitis testing for applicants. 

“This is scientifically baseless and leads to isolation and cause substantial damage to the patients’ future,” he added.

He went on to say that hepatitis B and C spread through the blood [or body fluids] not by typical interactions such as handshaking in the workplace.

All the newborns have been receiving vaccination for hepatitis B since 1994, so the disease does not threaten the students, he highlighted, adding, “On the other hand hepatitis C is 100 percent curable with new drugs.”

10 percent of all hepatitis C patients in prison

In another letter to Health Minister Hassan Qazizadeh Hashemi, Alavian touched on the fact that hepatitis screening schemes have indicated that 10 percent of all hepatitis C patients are in prisons and recognized this as a good opportunity to fight the disease.

Appreciating the adopted measures of the Health Ministry to control hepatitis in prisons, which have reduced the spreading rate, Alavian called for allocating more budget to provide drugs since most prisoners cannot afford them.

The advent of efficient methods for screening, diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis C has raised hope for eradicating the disease by 2030, he concluded.

Hepatitis 

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances such as alcohol, certain drugs, and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.

According the World Health Organization (WHO) there are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E. Hepatitis is a matter of greatest concern because of the burden of illness and death it causes and the potential for outbreaks and epidemic spread. In particular, types B and C lead to chronic disease in hundreds of millions of people and, together, are the most common cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer.

Ingestion of contaminated food or water are the leading causes of hepatitis A and E. Hepatitis B, C and D usually occur as a result of parenteral contact with infected body fluids. Common modes of transmission for these viruses include receipt of contaminated blood or blood products, invasive medical procedures using contaminated equipment and for hepatitis B transmission from mother to baby at birth, from family member to child, and also by sexual contact.

WHO data show an estimated 325 million people worldwide are living with chronic hepatitis B or chronic hepatitis C. Viral hepatitis caused 1.34 million deaths in 2015, a number comparable to deaths caused by tuberculosis and HIV combined. While deaths from tuberculosis and HIV have been declining, deaths from hepatitis are increasing.

MAH/MQ/

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