The number of hepatitis C cases are on the rise, mostly due to the risks associated with injection drug use.
One of the first needles Meagan Floyd used to shoot heroin also carried a virus that could have killed her.
The Birmingham resident found out she had hepatitis C six months after she started using. Doctors also diagnosed the disease in her boyfriend and his stepbrother, who introduced her to heroin soon after she started experimenting with opioids. They had all used together – swapping needles as casually as smokers sharing lighters. Floyd believes she got infected the first week she shot up.
After Floyd found out she was infected, but before she received treatment, she tried not to spread the disease to others. She stopped sharing other people’s needles.
Hepatitis C, a virus discovered in 1989 that attacks the liver, can remain in the system for decades before patients develop scarring and cirrhosis, which turns the organ pebbly and tough. Almost 20,000 people in the United States died from complications of hepatitis C in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Read full article: Infections among drug users prompts talk of needle exchange | AL.com
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