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HCV, Are doctors hiding the past?
Oct 28, 2002

I am a baby-boomer who was diagnosed with HCV during childhood. Back then it was termed Non-A, Non-B and many medical professionals knew little of it.

Today, many people will stereotype you as a druggie or homosexual male the second they learn of your infection. I even had a lab technician this year make a nasty remark to me. She had just met me and knew nothing about my history or me, other than I was HCV. I was flabbergasted that a medical professional could be so ignorant and verbally venomous simultaneously. It hurts emotionally when these things happen.

I'm not a drug user nor I am a homosexual male. I am a heterosexual male, however, I must disregard the feasibility sexual transmission as I was diagnosed as a child. I have never had a blood transfusion and my mother is HCV negative, therefore my condition is not congenital. I was frustrated and baffled as to how my infection occurred. So I began a personal crusade to discover the source of my HCV infection. I didnt have to look very far.

When I was very young, my twin brother and I always went to the Doctor together. We always received our shots from steel and glass syringes that were stored in alcohol filled jars. All patients received shots with reused needles from the same jars.

Dr. Dieterich, The reason Im writing to you is this. You posted a response on Jun 16, 2000 regarding Hepatitis transmission. In your response you stated, "Hepatitis C is usually spread by blood, the most common way is through shared needles used for drug abuse. However in the past transfusions and reused needles in foreign countries often were at fault.

Dr. Dieterich, for the life of me I cant understand why you would use the words in foreign countries. As a professional you are well aware that this was a common and widespread practice here in the United States. If you deny this I would be forced to call your bluff for I have discussed this with many in your profession. One of which, heads up the research team on HCV for one of the largest Medical centers in our nation. He concurs with me regarding the faults of theses past procedures and informed me that this was most likely the source of my infection. Since my twin brother is also HCV positive, its practically a shoe-in.

Why you would try and suppress facts of this nature? This hints of an ulterior motive. You wouldnt want to become the Ken Lay of Enron for the medical world, would you? Im sorry if I come across as harsh. I dont mean to but its just that people like us suffer the wraths of the ignorant, because of reports like this. Its no fun to be ostracized due to no fault of your own. Please, in the future, give all of the facts. It would mean a lot to so many people.

Kind Regards, R. Smith Houston, Texas

Response from Dr. Dieterich

Dear Mr. Smith, You make a good point. I agree that reused needles are an important method of transmission and it does not matter what country they are reused in. Of course it could happen in the US especially back in those times when needles were re used. I also have had hepatitis C myself and suffered those same discriminatory actions by health care professionals. I got mine from a needlestick as an intern. One would think that healthcare professionals who are at risk for this themselves would be more sensitive to patients. They are human too and not always perfect. At any rate I have been treated and cured and have been PCR negative for 4 years now. You should consider that yourself if it is appropriate. Thanks for bringing up the point and good luck! DTD



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