Most people that I am close with know that I struggled with liver disease, and that I am a huge proponent of spreading the word about making sure that you know you are healthy. And sometimes because of this, I get really fired up and lecture other people.
Some people might be annoyed with this post - but honestly, what the hell is a blog for if you can't express your opinions? So stop reading here if you don't want to hear this rant. (You know what, even if one person learns something from it, it's worth it).
Steven Tyler revealed today that he has been struggling from Hepatitis C, and recently went through interferon treatments to clear the virus. I just want to say that I very much admire him for speaking about his experience, as I always feel that this is the right thing to do when having gone through a tough time. It's better to come clean, and allow your experience to help others.
If you haven't yet heard the story, you can check it out here:
Now here is where I will lecture you...
Hepatitis C is called the "silent killer" because so many people either do not know about it, or do not know that they have it. Over 3 million Americans have the disease, and 75% do not know it. You can have the disease for years, and have no symptoms. Only 5-10% of the people who contract the virus get symptoms at the onset of the illness. Hepatitis B is now not as common due to the vaccine that you can get at an early age, but it is spread in similar ways. The number of cases of Hepatitis B is reduced each year, whereas the number of Hepatitis C cases is rapidly increasing.
When it comes to Hepatitis C, you MUST ask your doctor for an HCV blood test - even if you go to see him, and ask to get tested for HIV and every STD in the book, they will still not test you for Hepatitis C. You must ask for the test.
Hepatitis is a blood borne virus, and is often spread through needles. It has the ability to be spread other ways, however, and within the past 5 years, doctors all over the country have seen a very LARGE increase in cases from cocaine use (yes people, that sh*t does make your nose bleed on the rolled up dollar, even if you aren't noticing it).
So get tested. Don't get any tattoos or piercings. And lay off the drugs, huh?