Dawaai Blog

Social Stigma behind Hepatitis and What You Need To Know About It

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Unsa Mohsin

Guest Post Credit: Dr. Maleeha Syed

Pakistan with the 2nd highest prevalence of hepatitis in the world has every 1 in the 10th person affected with it. Despite being so common, people in Pakistan are still quite negligent about the disease; therefore, often stigmatized.

While hepatitis A is acute and is a short term illness that is cured without extensive treatment, hepatitis B and C are chronic and the individuals affected with it require long-term treatment. And with that, comes the stigma associated with these two types.


Lack of knowledge

Hepatitis is an infectious disease that can be transferred when injection drugs are shared and not from sharing food or sitting together. This misunderstanding has caused the people, who are fearful of acquiring it; deprive the sufferers of even the simple acts of affection like hugging, kissing or sharing food or drinking from the same utensils.

A generalized fear of illness

There are some people who just don’t like being around people who are sick. This is most probably due to fear of illness or death as a whole. Such people are uncomfortable around those who have a disease, infectious or not.

Judgment and lack of compassion

The fact that the transmission of hepatitis B and C are associated with injection drug use, those who are misinformed tend to think that anyone who is a victim of this disease has a history of injection drug use. This leaves those who have acquired the disease, either through injection drug or not, feeling shameful and often isolating themselves from their surroundings.


The following negative consequences are associated with the stigma of hepatitis:

  • Diminished self-esteem.
  • Disturbed mental health.
  • Fear of disclosing a positive status – which leads to hesitance in taking care of the infected individuals by medical practitioners.
  • Withdrawal of treatment.


Broad-based educational efforts

For most people, the stigma and isolation are worse than the disease itself. And for this reason, hepatitis needs to be treated globally, in a way that the sufferer, their family & friends, medical practitioners and the society as a whole are educated about it. Starting with conducting awareness sessions at local schools, hospitals, offices, and government agencies on the world hepatitis day (28th July) every year can be beneficial in helping to remove the negative perspectives about this disease.

Practicing self-love

If you are suffering from hepatitis, the first step towards breaking the stigma behind it is to improve your own attitude towards your illness. If you expect to be shunned by others, or label yourself as a sick person, your attitude may make you sicker than the virus itself. To overcome such feelings, you can talk about it to those like you at support groups, learn to practice gratitude, realize that you are much more than a hepatitis sufferer, and educate yourself and your loved ones about every single aspect of the disease in order to stay devoid of misconceptions.

The stigma of hepatitis is a reality of our society. A positive attitude and active participation in educating our local communities may put a positive impact on those dealing with it and help them receive the compassion and care they truly deserve.

Some Relevant Hepatitis Lab Tests

- Hepatitis Complete Profile by Dr. Essa Lab
- Hepatitis Complete Profile by KLDC Lab
Hepatitis "B" Profile Lab Test by Chughtai Labs
- Hepatitis B-Profile by NIBD Lab
- Hepatitis B-Profile by Dr. Essa Lab



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