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Encouraging News

Encouraging News

We can cure hep C. This is not new information for many of you, but for some, this may be a surprise. However, this is not the encouraging news I wanted to share. My encouraging news is in the area of stigma, a subject I write about often.

A community event

In my role as a hep C advocate and spokesperson, I was asked to participate in a pilot to do on-site point-of-care testing and linkage to care in a pharmacy setting. Recently, there was a launch at one of their flagship stores, and I was asked to attend to be interviewed by media, along with a doctor our organization works with. The whole event went very well, with several TV stations and newspapers covering the story- amazing, what a multi-billion-dollar company can do in generating interest. The take-away for me on the day was that there was not so much as a hint of stigma present, and I mean none, zero, zilch! “Wow!”, I thought. This is so very good to see in a diverse group of people, from the camera operators to the reporters, pharmacists, and all the others in attendance.

Changing the narrative

How encouraging it is to see this, as we have all worked hard for years to change the narrative about hep C. I am not so naïve to think that stigma is done, not by a long shot. Any improvement is a welcome sight though. I need to celebrate any signs that we are turning the corner, and by spreading awareness and working in any way we can as a community, we can change how people think about hep C and how much people are affected by the stigma and discrimination.

Where we all meet

On this particular day, we saw how it can be. It can be much better than it often is for a lot of people. I hear the accounts form people who face the judgement and preconceived notions that others have, based mostly on erroneous information. In our efforts, we have reached out to the medical educators, medical practitioners, and others involved in the design and delivery of health care. The nexus, at least for me, is in the place where all of us meet, and that is that we are people first, not merely patients, doctors, professors, advocates, peer support workers, etc.

Our shared interest should always be for all people who are affected to have access to care that is both good quality medical care, all full of the respect and dignity that we deserve as people, period. Empathy helps a lot. While we can all do better at being empathetic, some still need to assess their own capacity for it, and whenever possible, take stock and remind themselves of what the meaning truly represents. When we can enhance these things, we will see an end to, or at the very least a significant dent in, stigma, and that will be very good news indeed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.