My name is Valerie Green I was diagnosed with Chronic Hepatitis C genotype 2 in August 2015 at age 56 after feeling lousy for a the last 8 years . Never in my wildest dreams did the idea of having Hepatitis C cross my mind.
The doctors estimated that I had the virus for 20 years or more due to a blood transfusion in 1986. I am still waiting for medicaid to approve Solvadi, the drug that will cure me. Medicaid has denied me three times, so after much frustration I began to fight and secured 90k in grant funding, but my insurance still refuses to pay the remaining co-pay to obtain much need medication. My fight for a cure continues.
Having the diagnosis made me feel better because at least I was given a legitimate reason behind my suffering. Chronic hepatitis C in an infection that slowly damages the liver. The stress of worry was only making it worse, but Sovaldi has about a 98 percent cure rate when taken with other drugs. If medicaid pays the co-pay, I won't have to worry about it getting worse anymore. Acquiring Solvadi will dissolve some of my stress.
I didn't tell my friends or coworkers because there was no reason for them to know. Simply put, a Hep-C diagnoses carries a lot of social stigma (just like AIDS). Ostracization and discrimination are very real possibilities when disclosures are made People see Hep C as the drug disease and when someone says they have it they automatically think "druggy" . I would also like to say that not everyone with Hep C got it from drugs I was not willing to subject myself to this; so disclosure was on a need to know basis.
While hepatitis C infection can start off silently, untreated hepatitis C comes out roaring. I have and will continue developing symptoms down the road including extreme fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, joint and muscle pain all of which I battle daily. These nuisance-like symptoms have seriously damaged my quality of life, hepatitis C doesn’t stop there. Left untreated, it will progress and cause more serious and potentially fatal liver diseases.
As of now, I am untreated. My hepatitis C could spread, affecting others as well; including my loved ones. Hepatitis C shouldn't stand in your way of living a full and healthy life. People with HCV should not have to wait until they are very sick to access curative drugs. I am now and shall continue to Advocate for Hep C funding and testing mandates!