The Last Word? The Changing Landscape of Hepatitis C
There is no last word on hep C. The final chapter has not been written, and there is much more to be revealed. I am certainly not prepared to say that we know everything there is to know. It's not because we haven’t learned a lot already, because we have, but nobody has the last word.
The hep C community is changing
In my years working as an advocate and peer navigator, I have seen many changes. I am reminded of something I have said for years about how as sure as we are now in the science, we are likely to be proved wrong tomorrow. This is in the nature of science; It is not static. Things and understanding and accumulation of knowledge changes. The arrogance of thinking we know it all is a dangerous place to be.
I am just as guilty as some of my colleagues in being confident that what I know is entirely accurate and correct. We try to be accurate and we always try to keep up with recent discoveries and new science that helps to inform others. Can we realistically keep up with it all? I can’t, I know that.
Everyone's hep C story is different
The one area we are going to vary is in lived experience, and perspective based on our own experiences. That does not mean that we don’t share in some of the same experience as part of our hep C journey - we do. Income, education, and in general, our socio-economic background plays a part, without question. The differences are a good thing and I choose to celebrate them. Age, income, education, drug use, or not, and general health all play a part in our individual differences.
Hep C does not discriminate
This is true, in my opinion, about the diverse populations, or group of people who are affected by hep C. The gamut runs from bankers, to teachers, to drug users, to doctors and nurses, to electricians, etc. Some are homeless, and any age, young and old, and everything in between. The virus does not discriminate about who it chooses as a host; We should never discriminate against any one group regardless of their social standing or income who are affected.
Realizing that there are differences is not a bad thing, and if we truly subscribe to health equity as an ideal, we will adapt our response accordingly. The importance of the social sciences is evident now and, in my opinion, and will play an even more important role in the years ahead as we work towards elimination and more. My hope is that we remember that transmission is not the only thing we should focus our efforts on, despite the importance as part of a comprehensive strategy. New or old, it is all important if positive health outcomes are the prize, and in my opinion, it is. The last word? No, not at all.