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Lost to Care

Lost to care is a phrase that is not commonly mentioned in the community or really anywhere else very much. What does it mean? In the context of hep C, it relates to the people who have been tested at some time in their past but have not been monitored or been in the care of a physician since their diagnosis.

Hep C Myths May Have Alienated Some

In most cases, as I understand, it is mostly people who were diagnosed several years ago when the only treatment available was difficult and not always effective. Some may have never been confirmed as having chronic hep C (CHC). The misinformation that people were provided led to myths that have survived until today. With the advent of new more effective treatments in the last few years we have seen many people from this group come forward but there remains a large segment who are still lost to any care.

There is a great challenge to bring these people back into appropriate care. The question I have is this: How can we do something as a community? It is not an easy task, by any measure, given that the resources available for outreach are limited. Any campaigns that would be very meaningful would cost huge amounts of money that we simply do not have. What can we do as a community to help? Do you know anyone who fits in this group? Do you feel comfortable discussing care options with these people?

How Can the Community Help?

If you want to be part of the grassroots effort to bring these people back into care, there are some basic things you would want to share with them that they might be unaware of.

  • There is no way to predict the rate of disease progression, meaning some will progress much faster than others, and how a person feels is not always indicative of their status.
  • New treatments are highly effective, and yes they cure.
  • Treatment is far faster with fewer side effects.

These are some very basic things you can share with others, and remember that we must always respect the decisions of others. Shaming or blaming never motivates people to seek care. Scaring people is no good either and may be the reason they have not looked into seeking care for their hep C. They may be unaware of new options for treatment and sharing the news may simply be enough to spark renewed interest.

Dreaming of a Healthy Future

This is not for everyone, I know, but imagine what the possibilities are. You could have an amazing impact on someone’s life and how cool is that! Enlisting people from community is a grassroots effort that we can do ourselves. We may not be successful at capturing everyone who has been lost to care but we can make a dent and if enough of us get involved we could make a big dent in the numbers. Please consider this as something you can do to help, you can make a difference. Believe me you can!

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.