Information I Have Researched About Hep C, And Some Personal Opinions.
|THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HEPATITIS C
The following consist of information I have researched about Hep C, which is as accurate as possible, and my own personal opinions about Hep C and some of the issues. This information is for educational purpose only. It is not meant as medical advice or for self-diagnosing. If you have concerns about the possible infection of
Hep C, GET TESTED!
If you disagree with the things I write about Hep C, that disagreement is with me and not the good people at Writing.com.
Hepatitis C. A Debilitating Illness With The Potential To Be Fatal. The Silent Killer, An Epidemic Larger Than Aids
I would like to introduce myself, to some of you again, others for the first time. My name is Sandy. I live in Cottage Grove, Oregon, which was just named, "All American City" for the second time. I am a Daughter, Girlfriend, Mother, Grandmother, Stepmother, and Friend. I am a 52-year-old Scorpio. I had my own business. I own my home and car. I also have Hepatitis C. Hep C for short.
After I placed the first part of my story, Me And My Hep C on Writing.com, I received comments from some of the people who had read my story. I noticed one comment was more consistent from these readers; that they did not know much about Hepatitis C.
It was suggested that I explain a little about the Hep C. Virus and what it is capable of doing to a person.
I am only qualified to tell you about the Hep C that I am living with and share information I have found. I also have an opinion or two about Hep C and its issues. (This is when I can vent if I want to).
I would like to share some very interesting information I have found about my disease, Hep C, that has me. In an open letter about Hepatitis C from Dr. Koop he explains about Hepatitis C and what it is capable of doing to a person. He is qualified.
My name is Dr. C. Everett Koop. I am a former Surgeon General of the United States, and I have an important message for you. Many of you have heard me speak about the AIDS crisis during my tenure as Surgeon General. Today we sit at the edge of an even graver threat to our public health.
I am referring to a viral disease that infects millions, but few of them even know it. A disease that they will carry for a decade or more (and that can be spread to others) before it makes itself known as a threat to their health. A disease about which we have, so far, not done nearly enough.
This disease is viral Hepatitis -- one of the most significant preventable and treatable public health problems facing our nation today.
There are in fact five different types of viral Hepatitis, but of these, the type known as Hepatitis C is the greatest threat. Unlike many other forms of Hepatitis, there is no vaccine against Hepatitis C. More than 4 million Americans, and perhaps as many as 200 million people around the world, are currently infected with Hepatitis C. More than 80% of those who get Hepatitis C will have the infection for life if it is not treated. Many will develop chronic, life threatening liver disease.
Hepatitis C already infects three times more people than does AIDS. It is responsible for more than one-third of all liver transplants. And by the turn of the century, it will kill far more people than AIDS each year.
Yet the onset of Hepatitis C can be unnoticed. Some people think they have a touch of the flu. Many people only find out that they have the disease because of a routine blood screening test, which picks up the antibodies to Hep C. Many cases have no symptoms at all.
This may continue for more than 20 years, but eventually, many of those infected will progress to chronic liver disease, with jaundice, or yellowing of the skin and eyes, and abdominal swelling. Eventually, the infected person can die.
Prior to 1990, there were no tests for Hepatitis C, and the risk of infection from a blood transfusion was between 8% and 10%. Anyone who has received a blood transfusion prior to that time is at risk for having been infected and should be tested.
Other risk factors include I.V. drug use, snorting cocaine, needle-stick injuries in health care, as well as tattooing and body piercing. Virtually any exposure to blood can transmit this virus. We are not as sure about transmission by sexual activity with infected partners, and contact with household members infected with Hepatitis C. Perhaps about 13% of all infections are passed this way.
If you believe yourself to be at risk for having contracted this disease, I strongly urge you to seek testing and treatment through your doctor. Even if you feel you are not at risk, I hope you will explore the materials available and educate yourself on this disease.
Hepatitis C does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages, gender, and sexual orientations. It is not a "disease of the poor". It affects people from all walks of life, in every state, in every country. Most important, it affects a large number of individuals, a group in the United States that is as large as the populations of every capital city, in every state combined. All Americans must understand the risk that this disease poses. We must help America become a leader in the fight against this disease, both here at home and around the world.
Talk to your friends, your family, and your co-workers. If you are a teacher, tell your students. If you are a doctor, tell your patients. If you are a patient, make sure your doctor knows about it. By working together, we can help to reverse the spread of Hepatitis C
"Copyright 1998 Trustees of Dartmouth College. All rights reserved. The C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth documents available from this web site are protected by the copyright laws of the United States and international treaties."
The man tells it like it is. Too bad so many never had the chance read this letter, or even knew of it's existence. Dr Koop is one of two former Surgeon General of the United States who tried to warn to us about this epidemic.
If you want to know more about this debilitating illness, then take a step in side The World According To Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C Is Now Considered The World's Worst Epidemic
HCV = Hepatitis C Virus
Recent studies have shown that HCV can
survive outside the body and still transmit
infection for 16 hours, but not longer than
Did you know that for every one person that is infected with the AIDS virus, there are more than four infected with Hepatitis C? The CDC (Center For Disease Control) estimates that there are up to 230,000 new Hepatitis C infections in the U.S. every year. This is an increase in HCV infection since Dr. Kopps open letter when the count was 3 HCV to 1 AIDS.
Funding for Aids research is in the billions while funding for Hep C research is only in the millions. Please do not misunderstand me. I am completely in favor of the amount of funding for Aids research. It is the amount of funding for Hep C research that I do not understand. If there are currently 8,000 to 10,000 deaths each year as a result of HCV, are there not enough people dying to warrant more funding for this research? Even if more money for research of HCV was funded last week, it's not soon enough for a person who is already infected with this illness to really benefit.
Over the next 10-20 years chronic Hepatitis C is predicted to become a major burden on the health care system as patients who are currently asymptomatic with relatively mild disease progress to end-stage liver disease and develop hepatocellular carcinoma. Predictions in the USA indicate that there will be a 60% increase in the incidence of cirrhosis, a 68% increase in hepatoma incidence, a 279% increment in incidence of hepatic decompensation, a 528% increase in the need for transplantation, and a 223% increase in liver death rate.
In fact, the annual number of hepatitis C deaths in the United States now approaches those from AIDS. And although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched aggressive battles against AIDS and West Nile, they give hepatitis C much less money and attention. 35 times more people will die this year from Hep C than from last year's much-publicized outbreak of the West Nile virus.
Not a very pretty picture of our medical future. Something must change.
There is one theory I read that claims Hep C is not a virus at all but made up propaganda by the Schering-Plough Corporation to sell their expensive Rebetol. This misinformation is actually harmful and undermines the needed programs Schering-Plough offers. I know from personal experience that Schering-Plough make it their responsibility through their Commitment to Care program, to ensure that eligible individuals, regardless of their ability to pay, have access to cancer and hepatitis drugs.
I live in Oregon, U.S.A. My health insurance is through LIPA for the Oregon Health Plan. Those in control of this health insurance made mistakes and a law suite was filed. In order to pay the lawsuit, Oregonian's health benefits were cut.
The Oregon Health Plan had denied Dr. Phillips, my Hep C doctor, request for me to have a prescription of Pegintron and Rebetol, for my Hepatitis C treatment. I did not fit their criteria at that time to have these drugs. They could only approve drugs that were needed to keep a person alive each day. I wasn't dying fast enough.
The Schering-Plough Corporation, through their Commitment to Care program, agreed to provide and ship monthly, at no cost to me, Pegintron and Rebetol.
There are a lot of people like me who get their cancer or hepatitis drugs for free through Schering-Plough's Commitment to Care program. I think this alone should blow the propaganda theory.
(I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Schering-Plough Corporation, for giving me a chance and for their compassionate knowledgeable people that have helped me.
An especially big thanks to Kathleen, my personal nurse from the "Be in Charge" program sponsored by the Schering-Plough Corporation. She is always patient, compassionate, understanding, encouraging, helpful and listens when you talk. She has a great sense of people and humor making her an enjoyment to talk to. She has helped me a lot while going through the Pegintron/Rebetol treatment. Thank you, Kathleen.)
Hep C is a stigmatized illness because of public ignorance whose basic knowledge is that intervenes drug users, prostitutes and inmates get Hep C. Not nice people. This is why so many people are afraid to let any one know they have Hep C. It changes the way you are thought of by people, including relatives, friends, employers, and even some medical profession people.
"The greatest mistake any person can make is to sacrifice health for any other advantage".
I knew I had Hep C the first time I read those words. I understood completely what was meant. The sad fact is we live in a society that puts more value on wealth then health. While we watch a loved one die of an illness there was not enough money to research a cure, we can also see mars live on our TV sets.
The reason I chose to write about having Hep C was not for sympathy or personal recognition. I chose to write my story to show what this virus is doing to people and in hopes of anyone who reads what I write about Hep C, is one more person aware of this Silent Epidemic. Hopefully they will share this information with someone, who will share with someone else, and so on.
Changes need to be made in the way our government and the world treats this epidemic. The number of people who have Hep C is staggering. There are a lot of us. If each of us who have Hep C stood up and said "I have Hep C. and I am sick." It would make it harder to ignore us.
In the world of Hepatitis C, the journey you take is unsure and frightening and sometimes lonely. Those of us making that journey need to help smooth the way a little for those who will follow behind us. One of those who will be following could be a loved one or a friend.
"My name is Sandy, I have Hep C. and I am sick."
BE HEP C AWARE, STOP THE SPREAD