During the nineties, AIDS awareness spread, teaching people about safe sex, safe drug use, and getting tested for STDs.
Unfortunately, Hepatitis C, although less intimidating as a disease, spreads far more easily, and is far less well known. While AIDS rates have decreased, Hepatitis C rates have stayed the same—or even gone up in some areas.
With the recession, fewer people have—or are using even if they do—health care. Drug use is rising, and many cities are seeing an increase in Hepatitis C infection rates. Because Hepatitis C is so easily transmitted, higher rates means increased risk for everyone, especially health care workers.
Many people who come into contact with the virus (about 90%) beat the infection, or “cure” themselves because they have a strong, healthy immune system. Others go on to develop a chronic infection…even if they don’t know it.
Testing is important for preventing the spread of infection, and for saving lives of those who won’t realize they’re infected for decades. Spread awareness, and encourage loved ones to get tested, even if they don’t think they’re at risk. Catching the disease early is a lot cheaper than treating late stage Hepatitis C.
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