Hepatitis C is inflammation of the liver caused by a virus called the Hepatitis C Virus. It is a blood-borne disease and is the most common cause of cirrhosis and liver cancer in the United States.
I was infected with (HCV) in my drug addiction. When I found out I had the disease I was frightened. I didn’t know how I could have been infected because I did not use intravenous drugs. This prompted me to start studying about the virus and how I contracted it. I would like to tell you about what I discovered that most addicts are unaware of.
Most drug addicts think that if you don’t use needles then you are safe from contracting HCV. However, while studying about the virus I learned that you could contract HVC from sharing a type of instrument to snort drugs with, as well as sharing needles. Small blood vessels in the nose may break open when you snort the drugs and get onto what ever instrument you put in your nose. Most of the time, the amount of blood that gets onto the instrument is so small that it is undetectable. When you share an instrument to snort the drugs, the Hepatitis C virus can transfer from one person to another. HVC is very common among drug addicts.
I know a lot of people in recovery who have the HCV, including myself. Some have already been treated for the virus and some have not. The percentage of addicts who have the virus is very high.
It is also a fact that most people who have HCV do not even know that they have it. Some people who have the virus have absolutely no symptoms at all. Even in advanced stages. I know a few people who did not know that they had the virus until it was too late.
I have one friend who has had a liver transplant. Some are suffering from cirrhosis of the liver and it is very painful. I also know a few people who have lost their lives to the disease. That is why I strongly encourage all addicts, to go to the doctor, get tested for the Hepatitis C Virus. Even if it was twenty years ago when you put yourself at risk, and you have no symptoms, it could save your life.
I was very lucky that I quit using drugs and alcohol before my Hepatitis C reached an advanced stage. Drugs and alcohol will speed up the damage to your liver. I feel that understanding Hepatitis C is the key. I have learned how important diet, nutrition, and exercise is for the liver for someone who has the virus. We can slow down the process of the disease just by stopping the abuse we do to our liver in our addiction. I want to help, I think one of the most important tools in helping others is by helping to educate and raise awareness.