for Veterans and the Public
Knute, Army Veteran - Hepatitis C for Patients
In 2003, I received a letter from the VA urging me to get tested for hepatitis C virus (HCV). I was an Army combat medic and a Vietnam War Veteran, which put me at increased risk. I went in for the test and I was positive. When I found out, I was shocked and it was like a black cloud over me for many years after that. I spoke with my doctor regarding HCV treatment options available at the time. We discussed an interferon-based regimen, but I ultimately decided to forgo treatment as it could have had a very negative reaction with the medication I was taking for my PTSD. But I also knew that without treatment, my HCV could worsen and eventually cause liver damage.
New Treatments and a Cure
In the fall of 2015, my VA doctor called to tell me about a newly approved drug that could offer a chance for a cure with fewer side effects. I met with the pharmacist and my doctor, who told me what to expect. I immediately began treatment with a 12-week regimen of the medication. I did have some side effects - my appetite and sleep were affected, I lost some weight and had some headaches. After about 3 weeks, they did some testing and said my counts were going down. So, after that, I didn't pay attention to the side effects because I knew the treatment was working. I had support from my wife and my friends too.
After I finished treatment, I was told I was free of the disease and it made me break down with tremendous joy and relief. I keep reliving that moment every day that I'm cured.
My Advice for Veterans with Hepatitis C
If you value life, if you value your wife, family, and grandkids, then you need to try this program. It will extend your life and you'll have more time with your family, which is the most important thing. Never give up hope.