World Hepatitis Day
Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the virus of the same name; this virus can cause infection, either acute or chronic, whose severity varies from mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness for life.The hepatitis C virus is transmitted through blood. The most common causes of infection are unsafe injection practices, improper sterilization of medical equipment in some health care settings and use of blood and blood products analyse. A considerable number of people with chronic infection will develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. Currently, there is no vaccine against hepatitis C but research in this area continues.
We interview Sonia* who has expressed the desire to remain anonymous (*The name has been changed)
Could you please introduce yourself?
I am 55 years old and have developed my career in direct marketing, I am a mother of a son who is 30 years. In general I have done well in life.
Since when do you know you have hepatitis C?
I knew it since 30 years,when I did my pregnancy analytical and found out two surprises: I am carrier of HIV and have hepatitis C.
What has it meant to you?
As for HIV, I did not have any problem because there was no need for treatment and I remain asymptomatic after 30 years. Regarding hepatitis C I have always had a high viral load that has required treatment.
What treatments have you followed for hepatitis C?
I completed three treatments; two with Interferon and I ended withSoldavi treatment.
Did these affect your professional life?
I could continue working but with great effort particularly with the first two Interferon treatments.
Have you communicated your situation with your family and friends?
Obviously I did with my close relatives. At the professional and social level I think that sharing this information could have caused negative attitudes and perhaps even rejection. The majority of the society links the disease with problems of social exclusion, infection, etc.
How did you access Soldavi treatment?
It has not been easy because after two Interferon treatments without result, my only hopewas this new treatment. It coincided with a change in the hospital where I was going for monitoring. Knowing the existence of the new "Soldavi" treatment,I explained the doctor my desire to start it. I was aware that the protocol in Spain takes into account many factors and that I might not have met all the clinical criteria. From my point of view it was an economic issue and so I explained it to the doctor, and even suggested to cover my treatment costs. He was surprised but told me that he could not manage this arrangement. Two weeks later, I received a call saying that my treatment had been approved.
I started the treatment three months ago and the first results show that the viral load has become negative.I have to wait three more months to get the final result, which I hope is the cure of this disease.
While having the possibility of curing this disease, which affects between 130 and 150 million people worldwide, it is inhumane to restrict the number of people that can access it-like in my case-, based on the premise that it is an economic issue of patents and laboratories that are above the health and life of people. This is outrageous.