New and Old Battles With Hep C
Editors Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
As I am now embarking on new health battles and searching for answers, I cannot help but wonder if it is connected to my 25 plus years of living with hep C.
This subject has been well covered, and by myself in various forms as well, but I wanted to take a new dive into the implications of what it means to be dealing with another health concern after treatment and cure.
Comorbidities with hep C
If you had some symptoms from hep C, you know that it can be brutal indeed, especially if you have co-morbid or another disease to deal with. Some things and conditions can and will improve dramatically with the hep C cure, and this is true for most of us, I think.
I say “I think” because there is no reliable data I am aware of. Data is essential, but in my work in the community, I hear from many people who may or may not be part of that data. How much have they been asked to report?
Some extensive data will come out of some significant longitudinal studies underway, but again, the focus may not include everything that hep C affects. I hope the findings will help support and guide the protocols for monitoring that people should be seen as part of having hep C and being cured.
As I have said, it appears to be more of an issue with people who have lived with hep C for a long time. Still, some seem to develop symptoms and extrahepatic manifestations in less time, with no reliable way to determine which of us will develop which condition.
This makes it harder to determine the cause, and some would say there is no connection at all, but there is a science that does support causal ties and not alone with hep C, as we have seen with Covid or long covid, long haulers, whichever term one uses.
Dangers with illicit drug use
I want to also address another much more pressing health issue that far too many others are dealing with, and one that can be as urgent as surviving until tomorrow. I use the word "battle" because it can shape or shake out in the same or similar way to war.
Not to be confused with the ill-advised and so-called war on drugs, which some say has caused worse harm to people dealing with substance use disorders. Controversial, but we are seeing the rise in hep C cases in step with the increase in substance use and overdose numbers.
There may not be any connection for you, but that does not mean that it isn’t for others. Illicit substance use is not safe.
We can all agree that there are dangers associated with illicit medications that are not regulated or, in most cases now, rarely contain the drug the seller names it.
This has caused countless deaths around the globe, and in your town, city, state, or province, and may even be your own family or a friend. The illicit market is toxic.
Helping to raise awareness through screening hep C can help introduce people to care services that improve long-term health outcomes. We are talking about health and quality of life outcomes, after all.
Recognizing this will help eliminate stigma and reduce mortality over time, which is a positive outcome for all.
Do you experience long-term side effects from hep C treatment?