All of the global efforts about Hepatitis C Awareness seem a bit far removed from my living room. What about you? What has all of the media attention done for you and why should you care about it.
Hepatitis C Awareness: Why you should care:
Improved testing has helped thousands of people to get treatment quickly. For many years, there was not a test for HCV. Now a simple blood test can detect a positive. This awareness allows both patient and doctor to make wiser choices about diet, lifestyle, medical care, and also about when to begin treatment for Hep C.
Better treatment is now being offered due to better research. My treatment was 48 weeks of some crazy protease inhibitors. The hair loss, gastro pain, and skin problems made it hard for some to endure. Many failed treatment and others were taken off of treatment due to severe anemia or low platelets. The newer drugs have mild to moderate side effects and can be taken for shorter time periods. They do not always require other drugs like Interferon or Ribavirin.
Higher cure rates increased dramatically when awareness moved through the medical and pharma industry. It is a better quality cure. When I was diagnosed, the word Hepatitis was NOT used with the word CURE in the same sentence. I actually wrote about the first doctor to claim a cure. That was 5 years ago. I am still free of the virus and have a sustained viral response (SVR). I realize that some have not responded to the new treatments, but the numbers being cured are up to 99%.
Less stigma means that people are able to talk more openly about having the Hepatitis C Virus. For many years, people felt a lot of shame and did not want to tell anyone. With all of the major television networks airing commercials, Hepatitis C is getting to be a household word. My grandkids friends recently asked why I had liver cancer. When I told them it was due to the Hep C Virus, they knew all about it. They got excited and told me that they had seen on TV where I could be cured. I thought that was sweet. It helped me feel more supported in my struggle.
More Support is always needed during a health crisis of any kind. Every major disease has always had access to medical information or ideas for treatment. There was very little of that for Hep C in 2010 when I was diagnosed. Few had heard of it and there was only a handful talking about it on the internet. Finding support was next to impossible back then.
I am writing about Hepatitis C to bring information to others. This whole website is designed to create awareness. That means a stronger connection between you and your health care providers, pharmacy, friends, and family. From a global level, this awareness has helped you find support for testing, treatment, cures, side effects, stigma, and support. All of these are reasons why you should care about Hepatitis C awareness.