Hepatitis C and the Middle East

From what I’ve learned in this weeks material, I can conclude that race, genetics, and health are all intertwined aspects of the human world. Each one has an effect on the other, and without all three the world would not experience all it does today, both negative and positive. As mentioned in the Dorothy Roberts video, race is something that cannot even be genetically determined within humans and that race is somewhat of a “barbaric term.” Race is more of a superficial generic term, whereas factors such as genetics actually play a huge role in human illness and health. Health, as we mentioned last week, is also more of an subjective term, varying with culture and environment and personal perception of health. As mentioned in the McElroy article, “the health of a population is a function of its ecosystem and of the adaptive mechanisms used by the population to maintain its place in the ecosystem.” This statement alone solidifies the idea that health is affected by the environment as well as the genetic factors  (adaptive mechanisms) used by humans to survive.

The question of race is actually a very interesting question for me to reflect on seeing as how I am somewhat confused what race/ethnicity to associate myself with. I am 100% persian and since the country of Iran is in the Middle East/Asian part of the world I am unsure what race to really consider myself. Interestingly enough, when I fill out forms or applications I am forced to choose “white” although I find that extremely incorrect. However for the purpose of this post I will go with “middle eastern,” an ethnicity in which Hepatitis C is extremely prevalent. I believe its prevalence is due mainly to uneducated populations of people who are unaware of the risks of sharing bodily fluids, especially blood. It has also been explained by the “previous long use of parenteral antischistosomal treatment campaigns.” Genetic determinants have been found as well, for example research found those classified with “genotype 1/4” were more likely to be born with this disease than others. Due to this genetic relationship, the disease has been found to pass on genetic immunities that have formed from adaptations to the several different genomic structures of this hepatitis.


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1.McElroy, Anne. “Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology: Evolutionary and Ecological Perspectives”.http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/files/2012/06/McElroy-Evolutionary-and-Ecological-Perspectives.pdf

2. Esmat, Gamal. “Hepatitis C in the  Mediterranean Region” Vol. 19 No. 7. 2013. http://applications.emro.who.int/emhj/v19/07/EMHJ_2013_19_7_587_588.pdf

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