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Options and Considerations

The options we consider when faced with hep c are more than just a choice of drugs to take. It is not as simple as that when we scratch the surface. It will be for some, but there may be other things to consider. That may sound less than positive to some, but the thing is that, for many people, there may be access issues or any number of other more pressing priorities.

Hep C may not be a top priority for some

For some people, hep C is lower down on the list of worries or concerns. It may be put on the back burner, even if they are experiencing symptoms they don’t connect to hep C. Food and housing security just to mention some basic needs people put ahead of hep C treatment. It is not even necessarily postponed for the basic needs, it could be much more complex and as always stigma can play a role. As we understand, stigma takes on many forms and can be a potently paralyzing force for some. Not all people face stigma from others and not all people self-stigmatize either.

In an argument against testing more people, that is slowly fading, we have heard some people in the public health sector suggest that people being screened for hep C could face harm as a result and therefore we should not expand testing. In other words, deny what is, in my opinion, a right to know issue.

Screening for those who need it most

As far as testing goes, I have believed that hep C screening should be part of standard blood work. The arguments about the cost of testing will soon be turned upside down, I believe. At a recent meeting with some real experts in the field, I learned that the price of both antibody and confirmative testing would be very inexpensive soon. The idea that people should not be tested as a way to limit access and costs to providers and payers will hopefully be a thing that is but a footnote in the history of the public health response to hep C.

What options are there once we are diagnosed? Again, that depends on where we are in our lives. If we are not dealing with advanced disease or symptoms some physicians believe we do not need treatment. I know that most people want treatment and want to be rid of the virus once detected, and who can argue with that, I felt the same. What if, as I mentioned, we are not in a safe and well-supported place in our life?

Equitable care

Geography aside, this can look very different to different people. Mental health and wellness, addiction, lack of safe housing and food security can all play a part. The options start shrinking for many people who find themselves in these places, and this is once again at the core of my support for equity. People with fewer options need our support more. Costs? It depends on how we measure cost, and is it always in dollars and cents? Even looking at financial costs it is a good investment in a society to help it’s most disadvantaged is it not.

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.