What happens when much of your life is built around a particular position or identity, and then that identity changes?
In 1993, while in the hospital having my daughter, I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Three years ago, I did the ribavirin and pegylated interferon treatment and cleared the virus. It’s very cool to be living virus-free after 25+ years of being positive, but it is also kind of weird.
Adam Cook is a policy researcher at the Canadian Treatment Action Council.
The development of treatment for the cure of hepatitis C (HCV) is moving at a dizzying pace. Indeed, the entire HCV story is one of an unusually fast trajectory, not only the speed of treatment development, but also the spread of the virus. While early cures were injection-based, difficult to tolerate, and boasting a mere 50% success rate after a year of treatment, there now exist cures that involve one pill, once a day, for a regimen that often doesn’t exceed twelve weeks. There are clinical trials being conducted presently to evaluate the efficacy of new treatments at eight and 10 weeks.1 Over 300,000 Canadians are infected with HCV, with many of them unaware of their status.
For those of us who work in HIV and Hep C prevention, the advent of new prevention approaches has made us increasingly dependent on evidence for making informed decisions about the best strategies to use with a particular client or community.
A while back, CATIE wanted to find out what’s been done across the country to assess the frontline needs of HIV and hepatitis C service providers and service users. As the information specialist (or librarian) here at CATIE, I was duly tasked with locating whatever reports I could find.
In Canada and in much of the Western world, thanks to the advent of combination antiretroviral therapy, there has been a clear improvement in health status and increased life expectancy of people living with HIV approaching that of the general population. However, despite these medical advances, negative public perception about HIV has yet to catch up to the reality that most clinicians encounter. The reality for the most part is of healthy and conscientious patients looking to improve their quality of life.
The CATIE Blog hosts the views and opinions of people and organizations working and volunteering in Canada’s response to HIV and hepatitis C.