HEP C and CHEM SEX – my learnings

HepC-and-Me

Ok people. Here are a few of my learnings from yesterday’s HEP C and CHEM SEX discussion with 56 Dean Street‘s Wellbeing Program. It was primarily for Health Care Advisors, Sexual Health/Substance Professionals, Councillors and associated Charities. It was however an invaluable few hours of education for me and I think more of these kinds of events should be made available to and ATTENDED by you guys (I include myself in the ‘you guys’ bracket). It seems simple but to state it – if we are not educated and clued up on something how can we hope to navigate our way through it or around it? HEP C is undoubtably about to take it’s place up there in the same league as HIV through new infections and it’s impending visibility. In saying that – the session was not a doom and gloom affair…in fact I left feeling quite invigorated and optimistic…So don’t panic! LOL And credit where credit is due – David Stuart somehow managed to put his unique stamp on delivering this session with humour, passion and a sense that he really cares about what we face and how himself and 56 Dean Street can best help. Thank you David and thanks for taking the time to give me a mini de-brief on yesterday’s event.

DE-BRIEF

Greg Owen: I learned a lot. And a few key points were flagged up. Primarily awareness, education and de-stigmatisation of Hep C. I also think clearly outlining the list of ACTUAL side effects from the current and new treatments (via patient testimonials) would be really beneficial

David Stuart: The testimonials that patients who spoke yesterday gave re HCV treatment side-effects were both regarding currently available treatments; the new treatments have very few side effects, and seem to be experienced favourably on the whole.

Greg Owen: Great. I will work on the issue of the lack of support that HEP C is being offered from HIV activists as we are yet to see the rise of a substantial HEP C activist group – understandably.

The key points from the session from my understanding are

  • Get tested
  • If positive – Get treated as per your healthcare team’s suggestions. Seek advice from the NHS and your community
  • If positive or negative – Get informed – HEP C is not just for “drug injectors and sluts”
  • Get talking
  • And most importantly – BE KIND!

David Stuart: Yes, that’s right. Get informed – HEP C is not just for “drug injectors and sluts”… And most importantly, BE KIND! – I love this.

Despite the activism, and anger you heard last night, things are not as bad as some believe. The new medicines are very new, and are currently made available to those very very ill with liver damage from hep C; as it should be. You always start with those dying first. And productive discussions are underway to make new medicines available to those not in mortal danger, for Treatment As Prevention; it just may take some months. Some noise/blogs/social media chatter absolutely helps. Times have changed also; new activism now involves engaging people in dialogue, (like Pat Cash’s Let’s talk about Gay Sex & Drugs, etc), shedding the anger and finding creative, persuasive routes of communication. That’s the activism that I’m able to practice within the NHS.

Greg Owen: Thanks David. I look forward to catching up with you again soon.

Over and Out…

Thanks for reading…Please SHARE SHARE SHARE

STAND TOGETHER – MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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4 thoughts on “HEP C and CHEM SEX – my learnings

  1. To also be clear the new drugs for Hep C gay men who are newly infected will not be out for at least two years. As we are not dying or near to having any liver damage. So it is only if you shout loudly that you can gain access to them. It is your health not the NHS’s and you have a right to ask. You may not get it straight away but do not be shy about asking for it.

    So the only way to prevent others or getting reinfected with another strain are these basic principles:
    A. Get tested
    B. Suggest your playmates get tested
    C. Condom use
    D. Use gloves when fisting and dont share lube
    E. Dont share toys and put through dishwasher after useage. Or use condoms on toys.
    F. Make sure you do not share straws/ pipe/ drug gregalia/ go to needle exchange or 56 Dean Street.
    G. Disclose if you feel bold & brave enough. But know you may need to be ready for rejection. Learn to love yourself through Dean Street or London Friend services.

    Then if you do get a Hep C positive diagnosis use the traffic light signs:
    Red – stop & review risks you may have been taking.
    Orange – decide what support you need & have honest conversations with your clinic.
    Green – decide if you feel emotionally stable either push for treatment. Or use my A-G guide above.

    Good luck and take care

    X JK X

    Liked by 1 person

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