Youth and Hep C
Last updated: May 2023
As someone that long ago relinquished my claim of being young, I thought I would share my older person's thoughts on hep C and youth. It is not my intention to lecture anyone on anything.
When I was a young person, it was common for us to question the intent and purpose of the lecturing we were exposed to in many of the same places we see today based on the comments I hear from my peers, age-wise anyway. We despised the line about how different it was when they were young and then the following lame examples of what that was like.
How could they have known what my life was like any more than I cared to know about their life and times, being what is often called “old school” nowadays? The stories were not helpful at all at the time.
We used the phrase “old fashioned,” but basically the same thing. As a sidebar, it is ironic how younger folks today enjoy the retro thing; the plastic and chrome things we grew up with are cool again, skipping a generation.
Can we please skip the 70s and eighties altogether, as far as design and fashion go anyway!
Judgment, hep C, and the illusion of invincibility
Nothing would stop us from doing what we wanted to do except my parents and the police, teachers, and a mentor or two. I dabbled in recklessness, but is that not part of getting older, and somehow most of us survived?
Enough about my youth; what about you? Has the judgment by others affected you in a significant way? Do you think that any of your activity may have led to a hep C diagnosis? Have you been diagnosed with hep C? Were you born with it? Do you think you may be sick because of it?
A lot of questions, and they may not be ones you have considered at all. One thing that appears to remain a constant is the belief held by young people that they are bulletproof.
Understanding risks and emphasizing harm reduction for youth
Big brush strokes, as clearly, not all people think the same or share in their experiences. Most new cases of hep C are caused by people sharing needles, pipes, snorting straws, or other modes of drug use where blood-to-blood contact is possible.
There remains an increase in STI/HIV because of low uptake in condom use in adolescents, and Covid-19 sure has not helped young folks engaging in harm reduction and prevention, but not exclusively any one age group, as it turns out.
Not trying to lecture anyone, but this a gentle reminder that sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne infections like hep C can be prevented, but not all are curable and can cause life-long health problems like cancer being one of the worst outcomes, but living with HIV or chronic hep B treatments is no picnic despite new advances in the science.
The good news is that, as I said, hep C is curable, and if you get it as a young person and do the treatment, chances are good that you will skip the long-term effects!