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The Price of Sharing a Needle with Hepatitis C

So, you are hanging out with the same crowd that you always have. They’re like your family. In many ways, they are closer to you than your own family. They get you. When your addiction craving strikes, they are the ones who have some mercy. They understand your drive to get another hit. They don’t preach to you. They tell you where to score, feel bad for you when you’re out of money, and even offer to share – for a price. The price of sharing a needle with hepatitis C can be high, and it’s not even about the money.

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

One minute your head hurts, your whole body is aching, your skin is cold and wet. You grow quiet, but a bomb ticks inside, ready to explode on the next person who looks at you the wrong way. If a person speaks, it better be the words you want to hear or the animal inside might tear their head off.

You’re smart. You know the risks that comes with the needle. You weren’t born yesterday.

The precautions are tattooed on your brain.

  • Keep everything clean.
  • Start with filtered, preferably bottled, water.
  • Have some alcohol to wipe the area where you will shoot.
  • A bag of bright white cotton balls are a nice touch.
  • Wash out the spoon before you mix the water and powder in it.
  • The last one is the most important, and the hardest thing to do. Bring your own needle.

A brand new, clean syringe is not easy to come by in most areas. Unless you are lucky enough to live near a place with a needle exchange program, that is. Having a nice one of your own is like having a golden ticket. You take care of that needle like you would a piece of valuable jewelry. You are wise, and rinse afterward. When it is dry, you wrap it carefully.

If yours has become dull, you may have sharpened it on a matchbook cover. If it gets to the point where you are not able to sharpen it any longer, you need a new one. If you can’t get a hold of one, you may decide to share.

Finding a needle exchange isn’t always easy

One time of sharing with a person who has the hepatitis C virus is all it takes to become infected. Sure, they may have cleaned it out. They may have promised you that they never tested positive. You don’t really know for sure.

The used syringe is filled. You are wrapped off. The vein is ready. Slide it in and push the plunger. This one shot may have just cost you a lot. It could cost your life if your liver gets diseased from hep C. Sure, there is treatment. It could cost tens of thousands of dollars to treat, depending on the circumstances. Meanwhile your liver takes the brunt. The price of sharing a needle is too high to risk taking any chances. You need to find an exchange program, or find another way.

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.