COMOX VALLEY – Hepatitis C is a serious communicable disease that is spread through direct contact with the blood of a person living with the virus. Symptoms can include fatigue, jaundice, abdominal pain and joint pain. In some people it can cause liver damage (cirrhosis) and liver cancer. The good news is that this disease is curable, and newer treatment options have significantly reduced side effects.
In the Comox Valley a support group provides a safe space for people to get up-to-date information about the disease and treatment options. It is a place where people can go with their questions and concerns and get support from others who have had similar experiences. The group is sponsored by Positive Wellness North Island - North Island Liver Services.
“In a small town, knowing where to get confidential information can be hard,” says group facilitator Cheryl Taylor, who is a psychiatric nurse with Positive Wellness. “Our program created this group after hearing from so many patients of our clinic that they just wanted to be able to speak to other people who ‘get it.’”
Taylor says the Comox Valley support group has been well-received by participants, and is an important forum for people to talk about their experiences and get information about treatment options.
“The support group offers a place to come and be heard, to listen and not feel alone,” wrote one participant. “This group is my first. It helps to meet and talk with people who are going through the same thing,” wrote another.
The Canadian Society for International Health is promoting World Hepatitis Day on July 28, with the goal of promoting testing, prevention, treatment and linkage to care for Canadians who are affected by Hepatitis B and C.
The Comox Valley Hep C Support Group meets the third Tuesday of the month at the Comox Valley Nursing Centre, 615- 10th St. from 5:30-7pm. The next meetings are on July 18 and Aug. 15. The group is open to any Comox Valley residents with Hepatitis C as well as their support people. Light refreshments are served.
For more information contact Cheryl Taylor at 250-331-8524.