Competing Needs & Shifting Priorities: Hep C During Uncertain Times

One person’s priority can vary dramatically from that of another in normal times. We don’t all share in the same importance we place on anything, and that can include our health. It is safe to say that we all want to be well, and to be free of disease. That can change over time, in terms of what is the most pressing or important health issue, and there can be multiple factors that affect these changes.

When hep C takes a backseat

Recent times are unique, to say the least. Something none of us have experienced in our lives is now front and center in all our lives. The impact has been profoundly felt across all sectors in society, with the disadvantaged and vulnerable experiencing the worst affects, as is sadly typical. In this background, health concerns like hep C and other chronic conditions are sidelined by and large. This is understandable given the situation we see around the globe. In some places, testing for hep C has been suspended in order to free up lab resources for COVID-19 testing.

Returning to "normal"

"When will things return to normal?" is a question we all have, and the notion of a new normal is more than just a catch phrase in a post-COVID era. How different will it be, and how much of an effect will that normal be on things like hep C? As a condition that has been much maligned and ignored for a long time already, it is important for us to ensure that hep C is not ignored again. How we do that is the hard part and will take time. This will involve competing needs, like addressing the trauma that we have experienced to varying degrees as a society, in support with the families of the people who have lost family members, spouses, partners, friends, and community members sharing a terrible burden of loss. We have seen examples of great selflessness in so many places, like we have seen with healthcare providers and all the other essential service workers like the people who are working hard to supply food and other essentials of life. Often these same people are some of the most vulnerable in society who have put themselves and their family at risk so we can be safe.

Moving forward together

There is much work to do for all of us in the months and years ahead, as we heal. If we are dealing with hep C or other chronic conditions, the curve towards better health may present some added burdens. One amazing thing we are not hearing is about the wonderful way that hep C can be cured now, and that science may help in finding better treatments for these emerging epidemics and ways to mitigate and contain them, thus preventing another pandemic like we are experiencing now. It will take more than kindness we know, but there is always an important role for empathy. If you can only do that one thing, do that because it has the potential to help, and like always, we are in this thing together despite our differences.

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