Brian Rinker did a great job on the article “Task Force proposes new tactics to combat hep C.” His interview with Robin Roth shows the prevalence of hepatitis C and lists some task force proposals on how SF can begin addressing the disease. The story clearly explains the recommendation for setting up a safe injection facility without sensationalizing the issue, which I much appreciate. A safe injection site is good public health policy.
Sharing intravenous paraphernalia certainly spreads hep C, but it’s by no means the only route. I have hepatitis C, help facilitate a support group, and have met dozens of HCV-positive people. For some, the likely source of infection was either a transfusion prior to 1992 (first year of testing donated blood), straws used for snorting drugs, tattoos or piercings, or manicures/pedicures. Sharing a razor or toothbrush can also put one in contact with infected blood.
I personally know doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, contractors, artists and others from all sorts of professions who have hepatitis C. My support group has welcomed people of all ages, from people in their 20s to those in their 70s. Anyone can get hepatitis C, and in the U.S., estimates are that between 3.2 million to 5 million have done just that.
Of those millions, three quarters don’t know they are infected. I urge people to get tested, especially if they have risk factors. By the time symptoms become apparent, the liver may be seriously damaged, and associated conditions and diseases may have developed. Addressing hep C early on, whether with standard medical treatment or alternative therapies and lifestyle changes, can help you live a full, rich life. Through Brian’s article, The Guardsman has promoted knowledge of hepatitis C in the CCSF community, and knowledge is power. Thanks!
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