Tue, Aug 13, 2013 - Page 11 News List

140,000 people known to be infected with hepatitis C not seeking treatment
保肝別再拖 十四萬人測出C肝未就醫

Medical staff from the Changhua Public Health Bureau take blood samples from people to test for and prevent hepatitis C virus infections at Chang Bing Show Chwan Memorial Hospital in Changhua County on April 21.
彰化縣衛生局醫療工作人員四月二十一日在彰濱秀傳紀念醫院為民眾做抽血檢驗病毒,防範C型肝炎。

Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者湯世名

Approximately 140,000 of the 430,000 people in Taiwan infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) who have never received treatment refuse to get treated despite knowing that they are infected. The majority of them do not seek treatment because they are misguided in their views about the virus, the national health insurance program as well as the drugs that are used for treatment, effectively forfeiting a second chance on life.

According to a survey conducted by a polling company hired by a pharmaceutical company that polled 180 residents with HCV from northern, central and southern cities and villages in Taiwan, more than 70 percent of them choose not to go to the doctor because they believe that treatment is unnecessary because no symptoms have appeared, while 60 percent say it is because they think they could not afford medical costs, and 55 percent assume that the treatment would not be covered by the national health insurance program. Around 50 percent of the respondents also said that they have not sought treatment because they were worried about the side effects of medication, did not want to spend several years going through treatment or thought that treatment was unlikely to work.

Dai Chia-yen, an attending physician in the Department of Hepatobiliary Medicine at Kaohsiung Medical University’s Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital, says that the treatment for HCV typically only takes between 24 and 48 weeks and that the recovery rate is between 77 and 95 percent. The average medical costs for a year of HCV treatment is approximately NT$400,000, he says, adding that the national health insurance program covers the expense, so there is no need to worry about not being able to afford treatment.

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. tolerance n.

耐受力;抗藥量 (nai4 shou4 li4; kang4 yao4 liang4)

例: The doctor had to up the dosage because the patient had developed a tolerance to the medicine.

(由於病人開始對藥物有抗藥量,醫生務必增加藥量。)

2. invasive adj.

侵入性的 (qin1 ru4 xing4 de5)

例: A diagnosis cannot be made without resorting to invasive techniques.

(除非採用侵入性手段,否則無法診斷。)

3. injection n.

注射 (zhu4 she4)

例: George was given an injection of vitamins to boost his immune system.

(喬治接受了維他命的注射,以提升免疫力。)


Respondents in the survey were 55 years old on average, but 20 percent of them said that they were already too old to receive treatment. National Taiwan University medical professor Chen Pei-jer says that the body’s reaction to treatment is sufficient regardless of age, but says that older people have a lower level of tolerance, which decreases their chances of completing treatment.

HCV was discovered sometime around 1989, Dai says, adding that people who underwent invasive procedures such as surgery, blood transfusions or injections before that time are at the highest risk of having contracted HCV and should get tested as soon as possible instead of waiting for symptoms to appear.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

台灣大約有四十三萬名C肝病人從未接受治療,其中十四萬人是已知感染,卻未接受治療,大多是因為對疾病、健保、藥物的觀念錯誤,斷送重獲新生的機會。

根據藥廠委託市調公司調查北、中、南城鄉一百八十位民眾的意見,結果發現有C肝而不去看醫師的人中,有七成以上誤以為沒有症狀就不用治療、六成人覺得自己付不起費用、五成五認為治療沒有健保,擔心藥物副作用、不想治療好幾年、認為治療成功率低的人也有五成。

高醫肝膽胰內科主治醫師戴嘉言表示,其實治療C肝平均只要二十四到四十八週,而且有百分之七十七到百分之九十五的治癒率。此外,平均一個人治療C肝一年的費用約四十萬,但這筆藥費健保有給付,不需要擔心付不起。

受訪民眾平均五十五歲,卻有二成人認為自己年紀大了,不用治療。台灣大學醫學教授陳培哲表示,不論年紀,身體對於治療的反應都是一樣好,只是年紀大的人因為耐受力比較差,能夠完成治療的比例較低。

戴嘉言表示,C肝病毒大約是一九八九年發現的,在這一年以前曾經歷開刀、輸血、注射等侵入性處置的人,都屬於C肝高危險群,一定要主動接受篩檢,千萬不要等到有症狀才治療。

(自由時報記者邱宜君)

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