What Do We Need? Starting Treatment for Hepatitis C
Last updated: January 2021
What do we need? Well, that will vary from person to person and where we get what we need is no less unique. In community, we see access to care as the biggie, and that can be a big challenge indeed, depending on where you live, the status of your health in general, and more specifically how ill one is because of the hep C you have (or in cases cured, had in your past).
We want to be cured of hepatitis C
We sometimes confuse need with want, and that is only a bad thing when we want something unattainable or ridiculously extravagant beyond our ability to pay. Notwithstanding the philosophical arguments, what we need generally does trump what we want, but clearly the two come into focus when we want to be free of hep C. We need to be free of the virus, and we want it done ASAP, usually.
Inability to pay should not limit us
How to get what we need can be a struggle, and can depend on a list of reasons. Some will seem and legitimately be wrong, and the wrong part is that you are finding it difficult to get the care you need and want. It is no stretch in expectation, in my opinion, that access to care and treatment should never be difficult, and that means for everyone. We are after all talking about our health and call me weird, but ability to pay should not be the measure for access to care.
There are those who would disagree and suggest this is a radical idea, but perhaps they are not facing crazy costs or other barriers to care, and they are not always cost related, but even more sinister. When using the word sinister, I mean to say that if something like systemic stigma is the cause, it is in my view sinister and just plain wrong. Like we all have heard or experienced first-hand, being denied reasonable care in a reasonable amount of time is stressful and simply wrong.
Why it's important to start treatment
If we have hep C, we need care. Urgently? Do we need it now? Unlike in the past when people were told that they didn’t need to worry about their hep C and they would probably die with it, and not from it, we now know that this does not hold out. People do not die from hep C anyway, they can die from what damage the virus does over time and there is still no reliable way to predict how quickly any one person will develop liver cancer, cirrhosis, and a list of other illness’s that will impact a person’s health.
There is a long list of conditions caused by chronic hep C, and if you have it, you need to get rid of it, and the sooner the better. That is a reality we know now with certainty. You need to be cured and now you can, as long as you can get what you need without mortgaging your life away or by giving up your first born in exchange. How we do it can be tricky, but there are ways. There are advocates who can help. It is work that many peers are engaged in now. Please reach out, we can help if you are experiencing barriers to care access.
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