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Hepatitis: In search of increased protection for a silent infection in Nigeria

FIFTEEN years before the doctor said to him: “Go home and get your affairs in order because there is nothing further we can do for you”, John was already aware that a problem existed.

Blood had started showing up, infrequently and in small amounts in his stools. “I’d kept this information to myself, mainly due to embarrassment and the possibility that it may only be haemorrhoids, something most people would pass off as not worth the hassle, “ he noted.

Time passed quickly. Blotches started appearing on his skin, barely noticeable at first but becoming larger and more numerous and pronounced as time progressed.

He’d been an I.V. drug user some years before and had always been partial to a drink or two. “My wife had by this time found other interests and moved along saying that I had developed alcoholic dementia. I knew these words were plain cruelty on her part and dismissed them, however I was aware that after maybe even two drinks I did have to stop and think before I spoke as my mind was easily addled”.

John’s liver was trying to tell him something, He did not acknowledge to himself that he may have had something seriously wrong going on in there. Ten years ago he received a call from his ex. saying that she had had a full set of blood tests done and that she had hepatitis C and he should hurry along to the pathologist and have their young son and myself tested. “I proved positive, my son, 15 at the time, negative which was a relief to me.”

Time moved along and he found it more difficult each day to go to work. He had always been self-employed. He began to need to have three or four breaks in the day due to nausea, fatigue and sleepiness, the battle to complete a job within budget becomes impossible.

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