March 23, 2012

Hepatitis C Treatment for Drug Users

March 23, 2012

The stigma surrounding addiction may discourage Hepatitis C treatment for drug users - but the evidence encourages these individuals to do triple therapy.

By Nicole Cutler, L.Ac.

Across a variety of cultures, the ability to receive quality medical treatment is not uniform. Unfortunate for some with chronic Hepatitis C, access to the latest drugs can be unjustly withheld. Having health insurance coverage, being considered a good candidate for treatment and assumption of a low relapse risk can be determining factors in who gets the most advanced medications for fighting the Hepatitis C virus. Despite being a population particularly inundated by this viral infection of the liver, intravenous drug users are often excluded from the latest approved Hepatitis C drug regimen.

Clinically acknowledged as a disabling disease, drug addiction is found in every socioeconomic class, within every ethnic group and gender. Addicts typically have extremely strong physiological and psychological cravings to use drugs despite their negative effects. The cravings can be as strong as a human's desire for food and water. Society imposes stigma on addicts because many still believe that addiction is a character flaw or weakness that is incurable. Despite addiction being a treatable disease, the stigma against addicts remains deeply rooted.

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