A few months later, I started feeling a bit feverish and weak in a way. As a Nigerian, I simply went to the nearest chemist(a simple word misused for a patent drug dealer) to get some malaria drugs thinking that I would get better which it did for a while and then eight weeks later it hit harder with nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
By Unknown author - CDC / Dr. Thomas F. Sellers / Emory University, Public Domain, Wikimedia
I recollect my friends joking around and saying I had HIV and all I do was pray because I was too scared to go to a hospital. I remembered I didn't use a condom while having sex with the random girl.
My symptoms progressively got worse with my urine going darker, my eyes getting yellower, and my joints growing weaker. It wasn't getting funny anymore!!!
I then realized that I either had to go to the hospital to know what was wrong with me instead of the constant self-medication I had indulged in over the past months.
I could remember how the hours felt while I was getting ready and how the minutes felt while in the waiting room of St Ives hospital, every footstep, every word I could hear it ringing in my head, and finally, it was time to see the doctor. He gave me a pre-testing counseling section as they called it and he kept on saying “no matter the result, it isn’t a death warrant” and “how early detection made a huge difference”.
He drew some blood finally and told me to come back in 7-10 days. These were the longest days I encountered in my life. I spent it locked in my room and hoping for the worst and all I could think about was how I couldn’t believe I could be in this situation.
I went back In 20 days' time because every time I wanted to my head screamed and pounded but I summoned up courage and stepped into the hospital, the nurse gave me my test results and I opened it, it wasn’t HIV but Hepatitis B.
I didn’t know much about hepatitis B, I was never taught about it and no one had mindful knowledge about it but I was set to find out, Google was my friend and I was set on knowing what I was In for.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV). It can be acute and fixed without treatment. But, some forms of it could be chronic, and these could lead to chronic liver damage and liver cancer. Hence, hepatitis B was called a hepatotropic virus.
Diagnosing it was mainly through blood tests, due to the ease however, liver biopsy, and liver ultrasound are other options.
About 10.5% of people in the world which is approximately 30 million people were living with it and the shocking part was that just 6.6 million people actively know they are living with it, which meant I was at a point part of the 24.4 million people who never realized that I had it.
Another interesting fact was that approximately 10% of the HIV-infected population also had hepatitis B which could affect and worsen the progression of HIV by inflaming the liver.
The hospital had requested that I came back to get some prescribed antiviral medicines such as entecavir (Baraclude), tenofovir (Viread), lamivudine (Epivir), adefovir (Hepsera), and telbivudine which I had to take for about 6 months to a year and would help stop or slow down the hepatitis B virus from reproducing, which also reduces the inflammation and damage of your liver.
I could live a long healthy life with this virus and all I had to do was ensure I ate a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy oils, and also strive to do a quarterly checkup with a liver specialist.
A few months later, while visiting the hospital I saw a familiar face in the halls, it was the random girl at the party and when our eyes met, I quickly hurried off to my doctor.
By My upchar, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia
I was surprised when I met her outside the hospital waiting for me, I wasn’t ready to converse with her so I contemplated the next actions I could take but before j could she was walking up to me. She introduced herself as Dayo and asked for a minute to speak to me which I obliged. She explained that she had the same symptoms I had which prompted her to immediately go to the hospital unlike me and she found out she had Hepatitis B, she explained that while I got the virus from sexual intercourse, she got hers from her mother through childbirth and she had lived her whole life without realizing that she had it and unfortunately, her mother was infected by a careless chemist through a shared syringe. She apologized for all the pain she had caused me and invited me to an awareness program for Hepatitis B and bid a farewell.
I couldn’t hold her to it because she couldn’t have known but it did bring me peace and I decided to attend the awareness program.
I learned about some important factors such as the importance of being vaccinated, it was said that the vaccine was recommended by the CDC for all newborns, kids, and teenagers younger than 19 years, and if you completed the full dose of the vaccine you were protected for life. Also as a person living with it, I was advised to practice safe sex, to be careful with needles, razors, and open sores.
Hepatitis B isn’t a death sentence and it is our responsibility to spread information and to help lessen the spread of this virus by performing safe practices, your life could be a long and healthy one so don’t cut it short.
in summary, hepatitis is a preventable disease that primarily affects the liver. It can be transmitted both horizontally and vertically. Horizontally, via sex and use of sharps. Vertically, from mother to child.
Prevention is centered on health education, early detection, and prompt treatment. Vaccination also goes a long way in preventing the disease.
Thank you for reading
Just wanted to express a disease condition in a story form. I hope it still relays the message.