HealthWise: Hepatitis C Awareness—A Little Effort Makes a Big Difference, by Lucinda K. Porter, RN

Even if you know these facts about hepatitis C, please keep reading:
This month’s article suggests ways you can make a difference and change the strong hold that HCV has on our communities. May is Hepatitis Awareness Month and May 19 is Hepatitis Testing Day, both presenting opportunities for getting involved. We have the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to thank for initiating these events, but ultimately the success of these events depends on you. It is time for all of us to help.

If you think you don’t have the time for this, take note. The inspiration for this article is because Carleen McGuffey, a woman who had serious complications from HCV asked, “How can I, an average lay person with a heart to serve, put my time, money and effort behind stopping hep C? Where should I focus? How can we, the little people, make the most impact?”  Carleen has six children, is on treatment and is incredibly active in the HCV community. If she can find time to make a difference, anyone can.

If everyone did a little something to raise hep C awareness, think of the effect it would have. Just like the Grand Canyon was made drop by drop, HCV can be eradicated person by person. No act is too small; just act.   

So, Carleen, how can you serve?  How can you make the most impact?  Begin by searching your heart, and see where you are called. What stirs you up? What gives you joy? What makes you rage? What makes you want to make a difference? Is there a particular issue that really gets under your skin or makes you weep? It differs for each of us. Some of us focus on prevention; for some it is political advocacy or support groups. The list is endless. A huge part of my work focuses on helping patients through treatment, and helping people stay well with hep C. That is my passion, along with getting people tested.

If you are looking for ways to act, the CDC’s Know More Hepatitis campaign is a good place to start. It offers an extensive list of ways to raise awareness. Here are some things everyone can do and that don’t take a lot of time or money:
If you are tempted to pass on the opportunity to raise awareness, keep in mind that in 2013, approximately 53 people died every day from hepatitis C. That is more than two an hour. With an increasing death rate, what are you waiting for? We have lives to save.  

Lucinda K. Porter, RN, is a long-time contributor to the HCV Advocate and author of Free from Hepatitis C and Hepatitis C One Step at a Time. Her blog is http://www.lucindaporterrn.com/


http://hcvadvocate.org/news/newsLetter/2015/advocate0515.html#1

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