Around four percent of the Vietnamese population has had exposure to the potentially carcinogenic hepatitis C virus, many of whom then developed chronic infection, head of an HIV/AIDS control center said at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.
Tieu Thi Thu Van, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Center for HIV/AIDS Control, did not mention the time the figure was valid.
The four percent ratio corresponds to 3.8 million and 3.9 million people if one chooses the populations in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Van also provided results of a survey conducted as far as eight years ago which said people with high-risk exposure to the hepatitis C virus were often those likely to contract HIV.
Citing findings from a separate study, Van said most people at risk of getting hepatitis C did not know its consequences and how to prevent and treat it.
People are unwilling to have hepatitis C testing as the disease often has mild or no symptoms, Van said.
She underlined making HIV diagnosis more available at home was an excellent way to raise the awareness of hepatitis C prevention amongst people at risk of acquiring HIV as this demographic tended to get the hepatitis C virus, which spreads chiefly by blood-to-blood contact and may lead to liver failure and liver cancer.
The general public had had little knowledge of hepatitis C although Vietnam introduced guidelines on the disease’s prevention and treatment in 2016, Van added.