Health : Hepatitis C: The New Plague?
Being somewhat of an online regular, I like to check out areas that I have visited or hope to visit someday. I’ll look at cities in the U.S. and other parts of the world to see what the men there are like and how they present themselves. One thing I’ve noticed recently was that in some cities in Europe men have begun posting their most recent test dates for Hepatitis C. Here in the U.S., we’ve all become accustomed to seeing men post their last HIV test, but I found the Hep C postings a little strange. I decided to do some research and have come up with some disturbing information. Allow me to pass some of it on because I don’t see it becoming mainstream news. And it should, because it strikes me as oddly familiar with how HIV was dealt with (or not) in the early 1980s.
Hepatitis C is a blood-borne infection that can be passed by as many ways that people can come into contact with other peoples’ blood. It attacks the liver and over time can cause enough damage to make the liver completely unusable by the body, leading to death. There is no cure, and any vaccine is years away from approval. Sexual contact has not yet been entirely ruled out as a possible route of transmission. The most certain way of catching Hep C is by sharing needles if shooting up drugs.
So you may be asking yourself what this has to do with you. You don’t shoot up drugs and you don’t have rough sex that creates any cuts anywhere (that you know of). Perhaps you don’t, but there are many, many men that have and do. The Hepatitis C virus can remain virulent for up to four days on a drop of blood outside the body, even dried. It only requires one time exposure to become infected with Hepatitis C. Let me repeat that: one time exposure. Many times the virus is asymptomatic (meaning there aren’t any outward signs to make someone think they are sick) for years before it is discovered. So let’s say you may never have gotten into the party spirit and never thought you might just try injecting a drug just one time. I am here to tell you that plenty of other men have. That one time lapse in judgment isn’t something people usually admit to on a first, second, or even a third date. Would the subject even come up in normal conversation?
Sharing needles isn’t necessarily the only way to become infected. Sharing other items that may seem harmless such as a razor or even a toothbrush will spread the infection. A razor might seem fairly obvious for possible contamination from a nick while shaving. A toothbrush on the other hand, creates many tiny cuts even in the healthiest of mouths. It is important to try to wait at least an hour after brushing your teeth before engaging in sexual activities to give the mouth time to heal those micro cuts. Think about someone that may not be a big fan of regular dental checkups. We are all constantly under attack of periodontal disease wreaking damage to our gums. In that case, there could be more pronounced bleeding in the gums after a brushing.
But what about the underlying issue that has created this Hepatitis C onslaught? Does anybody else think the rising use of crystal meth has any correlation besides me? I’ve noticed more and more profiles of guys that say they like to PNP (Party-N-Play). Smoking meth not only messes up peoples’ heads, but have you seen the havoc it creates to peoples’ mouths? It eats away tooth enamel and destroys gums. Passing a meth pipe might be the same as passing around Hep C at a party. Maybe the best way to help people remain as healthy as possible, if not by avoiding meth, but by practicing some harm reduction and only smoking it from their own personal pipes and not sharing it. The Center for Disease Control doesn’t seem to think Hep C can be passed orally, but I don’t think they take into account the crystal meth angle. What do you think? I’ve included a chart on different forms of Hepatitis and ways they know and think they know how it is passed. Check it out.
Table illustrating the transmission of the various forms of viral hepatitis