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La hepatitis viral fue la causa de 1,34 millones de muertes en 2015, un número comparable con las muertes provocadas por la tuberculosis y superiores a las causadas por el VIH. Sin embargo, el número de muertes por hepatitis viral está aumentando de forma preocupante con el tiempo, mientras que la mortalidad causada por la tuberculosis y el VIH disminuye.

“We see quite a number of HCV infections amongst drug users in Kiambu County. Together with our partner LVCT-Health, active drug users affiliated to a drug den are provided with clean needles and syringes to prevent the spread of Hepatitis B, C and HIV. Those already on our opioid substitution therapy program in the Medically Assisted Therapy (MAT) clinic, will be followed up to the point when we shall begin providing treatment,” says Julia Jung, MSF project coordinator for Kiambu.

HCV has been a silent killer among people living in low- and middle-income countries, with injecting drug users being among the most vulnerable populations for infection due to their lifestyle, including sharing of unsterilized needles and syringes.

Due to the high costs involved and lack of access to diagnostics and treatment for viral hepatitis, many go untested and die silently. Without finding the undiagnosed and linking them to care, millions will continue to suffer, and lives will be lost. On World Hepatitis Day, 28 July, we call on people from across the world to take action and raise awareness to “find the missing millions,” which is this year’s global theme.