Support groups are more important than ever for Hepatitis C patients considering treatment, or on treatment, using one of the new protease inhibitor drugs along with PegInterferon and Ribavivin. Adding one of the new protease inhibitors has increased SVR (sustained viral response) or cure rates for patients, dramatically. Including one of the new drugs may also allow some patients to be on treatment for a lot less time than in the past. That's great news!
But the new meds have also made treatment more complicated and added to the side effects some people experience. Support groups provide an important forum for patients to talk with their peers about questions to ask and the pros and cons of treatment, while they are consulting with their doctors about whether and when to treat. Once patients start treatment, support groups provide an opportunity to discuss any difficulties or side effects they are experiencing, and share tips to manage or reduce side effects and other problems.
Having a place to talk about Hepatitis C and treatment with peers provides fellowship and encouragement. Support groups make it clear to individuals that they are not facing Hepatitis C and treatment alone. They are more important now than ever.
If you want to find a Hepatitis C or Hepatitis C/HIV/AIDS co-infection support group in New York, go to the Hepatitis C Support Group list under the Resources section of this website.