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Why Can’t I Get Treatment Now?

You would not be the first person to ask this question if you are asking it now. There have been many others before you who have been frustrated by the barriers faced when we are diagnosed and then told we cannot treat because we are not yet sick enough. It is entirely counter-intuitive to everything we believe is correct in medicine. Don’t we hear so often about the need for early intervention as being a determining factor with outcomes? Of course, we hear it all the time when it comes to anything I can think of and I am not going to run down the list because it is not so much a list but an approach that is missing when it comes to hepatitis C.

I know I have spoken about this before, and it is not anything new because it was around long before the new more effective treatments were around. People were told and are still told that they can wait because their liver is not scarred or about how slow hep C does its damage.

I don’t know of too many people today who know that they have hep C, and know they can be cured, who would choose to wait for 2-10 years or longer to be rid of the virus. Would you want to wait if you were told you have just a little cancer, and it won’t kill you very fast, but eventually it probably will and we don’t know when? Sound crazy? It sure does to me and I can understand all too well why we want to be treated ASAP.

Why is hepatitis C treated in this way? Well, there are a few familiar reasons and some of it is about money as we have heard about over and over again. Treatment will bankrupt the system they say. Whether we believe it or not, it has stuck and is impacting access for many who should be treated.

What are called “payers” have decided that treatment should be rationed, but of course who is the real “payer” in this equation after all?

What to do in this situation is as varied as the places we live. If you live in a place that has a more generous approach to providing care and treatment, you will fare better than if you live somewhere that cares less about it’s population, not to mention the HCV population. Is it our old nemesis stigma again? Maybe that is at play and in my writing I have spoken often about the influence it has on decisions when it comes to the community affected and at risk.

What to do as I see it is to fight for what is right, and that means persisting and asking why at every opportunity, with your doctor or anyone who is in the position of advancing your case. If you speak up and enlist the help of advocates who will assist in your fight, you have a greatly improved chance of getting the care you deserve. We all deserve care and treatment regardless of how we got hep C or any perceptions others may have about our right to be treated.

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.