For over 95% of people, treatments will be able to cure us of the virus. For most of us, treatment lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. Treatment is made up of pills taken every day for 8 to 12 weeks. If we come into contact with Hep C again, we could get Hep C again and need treatment. Whether or not we are ready for treatment, we can reduce the impact of Hep C on our bodies by drinking less alcohol, reducing our drug use, smoking less, eating fruits and vegetables as much as possible, being physically active, getting enough rest and sleep, and accessing a healthcare team that supports our sexual, mental, and physical health. We can also take care of ourselves and be cared for by connecting to our culture and our communities.
If we choose treatment, we may want to plan for common side effects like tiredness, headaches, and nausea. We may also want to consider that some Hep C treatments can be harmful during pregnancy, and that some may interact with other drugs or medications we’re taking and cause more damage to our livers and other parts of our bodies. Depending on our drug or alcohol use, we may be able to take Hep C treatment while using. Some doctors may not want to give us Hep C treatment while we are using drugs because of stigma. That’s not okay! If that’s happening to you, get in touch with Help4Hep or YouthCO.
For some of us, many of the recommended aspects of treatment, such as eating fruits and vegetables, may be inaccessible or impossible. There are many reasons these options may not work for us, especially if we don’t have a steady income, stable housing, or access to support networks. Some HIV and Hep C clinics are able to offer practical support connecting us to services that may be able to help us with accessing treatment. YouthCO can be a good place to connect with if we don’t know where to go for this kind of help.