New Delhi: Safdarjung Hospital has made viral load testing of hepatitis B and hepatitis C free for patients undergoing treatment at the hospital.
In Delhi, this test is available only at selected hospitals, including AIIMS, Lok Nayak and Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences. The fee for this test in AIIMS is around Rs 1,500. GB Pant Super Specialty Hospital has a gastrology department for the treatment of liver diseases, but even it does not conduct this test.
Till now, patients at Safdarjung Hospital had to get this test done from private labs. The hepatitis testing facility was started from October 21 by the hospital’s microbiology department. In private diagnostic labs, the cost of this test ranges from about Rs 4,000 to Rs 7,000.
In India, about four per cent people have hepatitis B and one to 1.5% people hepatitis C. Currently, drugs are available to treat both these diseases, but the virus cannot be completely eliminated from the body of a patient suffering from hepatitis B. Medicines can suppress the virus and reduce its load. Hence, viral load testing is necessary. On the basis of this test report, the virus load can be kept down by giving medicines.
Over the years, viral hepatitis B and C have become a global health problem.