Apr 23, 2010
Dear Barbara McGovern, MD,
I just have one question. When I read some articles about HBV, while it is true, why do they have to label it as a "silent killer"? It only put more scare to those people who are not infected thus create or advertise discrimination against those who are infected. I just hope that label not to be associated with the virus because it's having different meaning to those who don't understand.
Response from Dr. McGovern
I understand your perspective for sure. This type of labeling has also been applied to high blood pressure - mostly to get people to get into see their doctors for routine visits and ongoing evaluation.
The same is true for liver disease. Most patients just have fatigue. By the time symptoms become more significant - like turning yellow - it is in the context of very advanced liver disease...Doctors also need to be aware of when to test patients for hepatitis viruses (eg, who is at risk) in the first place so patients know their diagnosis.
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