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Open Access to Knowledge and Information

What Does “Open Access” Mean?

Well, to me, it means that medical, and social science is not held in some vault that only an elite group who has the secret password can access. Now I am being a bit dramatic for effect, but the language of sciences can itself make understanding the science a challenge to the rest of us. I think for most of us it isn’t so important to understand the finer details about the science, mostly because we can see how hep C impacts us or those we care about. Knowing the mechanisms of how treatment functions is not critical to our understanding, because for the most part, we just want to be well and free of the virus so we can get on with our lives again, and be healthy doing it.

As I addressed in an earlier blog about “The Perils and Pitfalls of Doctor Google” there are some things I think need mentioning when it comes to how we assimilate information that may or may not be appropriate for our own situation. I know, it is not always easy to parse out the correctness of information when it sounds so plausible or is presented in a way that makes it sound medically sound.

Well, as we have heard recently in the news, there are good sources and then there are not so great sources that may in both cases have a particular bias. Everyone has a bias and this is a natural thing, but when our bias gets in the way of what is true evidence based information it can be misleading, and trust me I have been misled on occasions. Sometimes this can appear in the most simple of ways and is hard to separate out what is correct, and what we accept as true can be subjective based on our own preconceptions. As talked about in the past, science is not static and changes constantly. What we thought was true two years ago is sure to change when it comes to knowledge, and this is just part of expanding understanding/knowledge.

Seeking Reliable Information

Please don’t get me wrong; there is an abundance of good and reliable information available now on hep C. This has not always been true and we still need to be vigilant when we consider the validity of information we look to in making important decisions about our health.

In a world where sensational sells and simple solutions are desirable it is not easy to always tell what is reliable. I don’t have any special insights into how we can protect ourselves from bad or misleading information except to look at more than one source and to let your common sense guide you. Ask questions of your health care providers, remembering that sometimes even they get it wrong or it is just old knowledge in a fast-changing world.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) and others are generally believed to be good sources and they all have web sites you can find online. The community is also a good source when it is provided by people who are well informed, and is based on the most current understanding of the science, and people don’t give medical advice. Good luck!

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.