Saturday, December 01, 2007

World AIDS Day? (Pffffffft!)

To commemorate the day, let's take a look at some statistics, shall we?

Proof that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease!


Numbers of People Infected:
3.5 million persons in the United States suffer from HCV (Hepatis C Virus)
700,000 persons in the United States infected with HIV
400 million worldwide with HCV
20 million worldwide with HIV
1 in every 15 people in the world suffers from HCV

Numbers of New Cases Each Year
150,000 new cases of HCV in the US
40,000 new cases of HIV

Numbers of People who will Die
80 million worldwide from HCV
20 million worldwide from AIDS
4 times as many deaths worldwide from HCV as from AIDS!

NIH Funding for Research for HCV vs. AIDS
$1.15 billion per year on AIDS from 1991-1995
$4.5 million per year on HCV
$.5 billion per year on treatment/support for AIDS (Ryan White Act)
$0 funding for treatment/support for HCV
$1.65 billion yearly on AIDS< $4.5 million per year on HCV
366 times more on AIDS than HCV!

(source: All I did was change the acronym to HCV from CHC, which is the european designation, I suppose. It stands for 'chronic hepatitis c', same thing.)

Everyday in the U.S. it is estimated that 72 people die of HCV. Most are on liver transplant waiting lists. (as was my husband at the time of his death)

My husband died of complications from HCV. I can't help but think that if Hepatitis C got even a half of the research funding that AIDS/HIV gets, he very well might still be alive today. His kids miss him. He'll never see them graduate, he won't get to walk them down the aisle. He'll never see his grandkids.

These stats just plain piss me off!! Damn right, I'm bitter. Just because my husband and scores of others like him weren't the right demographic, weren't the right victim group politically, didn't advance any agenda for any activist group because of their disease-no one pays any attention. He wasn't queer enough, he wasn't black enough, he wasn't poor enough, he wasn't living in a third world country.
He was just some average American straight white guy, working his ass off to provide for his family and try to enjoy some of the goodness this country had to offer.
In short, he wasn't politically correct enough.

HCV is not just a disease of whores and junkies, which seems to be the prevalent myth. Like AIDS, it is a blood borne disease, but unlike AIDS it is not sexually transmitted. (There is some controversy there, let's just say one would have to work damn hard and vigorously to the point of abrasions internally and drawing blood to do that-most regular folks don't do that.) My husband got HCV from a bad tattoo, back in the days when tattooists weren't so picky about sanitation. Ink cups were used from one customer to the next and gun needles were cleaned whenever or when they got dulled. My husband foolish attempt to be a badass at 18 cost him his life 25 years later. And that's what's so evil about this virus- it bides it's time, turning your liver to concrete slowly. By the time you show any symptoms, it's too late. Often that time span between contracting it and showing symptoms can be as long as 30 years! Most times it's 15 to 20.


Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Exactly. Excellent rant. I have a friend who is dying of Hep C which he got in Viet Nam from an infected needle and I don't hear him complaining - ever.

12/01/2007 2:58 PM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

Yep, that's just it. They don't rise up and complain. (probably because they're too tired & wore out from the disease.) There are some advocacy groups for HC, (which I do donate to.) but they don't seem to get anywhere with anyone. It's so discouraging. Everytime the AIDS drum gets beaten, making it sound like it's the only disease out there killing millions and jeez we have to do something NOW! my bitterness just becomes intolerable and I rant. Maybe I should channel it elsewhere, like actually doing more than just bitch and moan and throw the HC groups some cash.

There have been some improvements in treatment since my husband died, but it's still a 50/50 or so odds that it will help. And you can never cure it, just slow the beast down, they like to call it remission.

In the final stages it gets so horrible. I wouldn't even wish it on the Hillbeast.
And that's saying sumpin'!

12/01/2007 3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a gut-wrenching account, thank you for sharing it.
This, and other diseases are a dirty little secret. HCV, and many STD's, run so rampant, especially in the college aged kids that it should be considered epidemic. But on the STD side, that would eat into the agenda of sexual liberation. And on the HCV side, as with other diseases, you have hit the nail right on the head.
A first cousin of my spouse contracted HCV last year in college. And his mother is acting so casual about it, like it's no big deal. Meanwhile, the doctor told him he should live alone, with no roomates (is that strange?). It sounds plenty serious to me.
Your story is going to be on my mind today, I am so sorry for your loss.

12/02/2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger white trash republican said...

JM, That's curious that his dr. told him he should live alone! The only reason I could think for that remark is that the medication makes you prone to horrible mood swings-I'm talking 10x's worse than the worse PMS-and that could make it difficult to be around others- once my husband hurled a hot bowl of oatmeal at me cuz it was cinnamon rather than maple syrup flavor or some crap like that, totally out of character for him and caught me by surprize! (he missed, btw.) He could get very wiggy and scarey sometimes while under treatment.
Even still, I think that advice is reckless-the one thing you don't need during that time is isolation! The disease in of it's own makes you prone to deep depression, no matter how bad you may get emotionally, you still need friends and family around to make sure you don't do anything foolish!

The only other thing that might have brought up that comment is that in a roomie type situation razors and/or toothbrushes might, might get accidently shared. Remote and unlikely, but that can cause transmission of the disease, too.
But his dr.'s advice sounds kinda ig'nert to me-I've never heard of it.
It's not like he's a leper...although he may feel like it. Depending on what geno-type he has, treatment may be very successful for him. I wish your 1st cousin the best, it's not an easy road, but if he's young he might spring back without any trouble after treatment, especially if it was caught before any major liver damage had occurred.
Maybe mom is being so la-dee-dah about it because he has downplayed the seriousness of it to her. (Sons never want their moms to fret about stuff, y'know.)

And that is true about what you said about other STD's being on the rise-all the nasty stuff we thought when we all were randy young minxes in the 70's and 80's had been just about wiped out or easily treatable are coming back bigger and more resistant than before! Ick!
Yep, such is the price of casual sex.
Oh! Was that too judgemental? ; )

Sorry for rambling on-I don't talk about our ordeal very much, but whenever this b.s. about AIDS comes up I can't control myself and I spout off. I know that's probably not fair to those who have HIV etc., but dammit why should that disease be any more deserving than all the other deadly crap out there!? So yeah, I'm selfish when it comes to that-it pisses me off.
Although, I will admit it does make me ashamed to trot out the victim bit when I get like that. We've been doing ok these past few years, but it would be so much easier if he was still around.
(I best be shuttin' up now.)

12/03/2007 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks WTR.

And nothing wrong with being judgmental!

12/03/2007 10:12 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home