SAN ANTONIO — Hepatitis C is a deadly but curable disease. Thousands of people in San Antonio are walking around not even knowing they have it.
"It hit me like a ton of bricks," said 54-year-old Guadalupe Guzman, who found out he had Hepatitis C one year ago. The disease attacks the liver. "I was scared because my sister died of liver cancer, so it was like, 'uh-oh, I'm next.'"
Clarissa Carvalho, a family nurse practitioner with University Health System, has been seeing Guzman from the moment he was diagnosed. "We saw his liver functions were a little abnormal, so we ran a hepatitis C anti-body check, which turned out positive," she said.
Guzman said, "Drug use, sleeping around with different women all the time, unprotected sex. That's what I think I got it from."
You could be at risk for having Hepatitis C if you had a blood transfusion before 1992, used needles to take illegal drugs, have body piercings or tattoos, were born between 1945 and 1965 or have a spouse or partner who has it.
It took Guzman nine months to get into treatment because he was afraid treatment would greatly impact his life. "I was thinking, you know how they go for dialysis? I'm going to have to sit somewhere where they pump the stuff in," he said.
But that's not the case. The cure for Hepatitis C is simple. Just one pill a day and you don't even have to take it for very long: A maximum of just three months. "When I started the meds I was like, 'man, this is easy,'" Guzman said.
Now, he has this message for anyone who thinks they may be at risk, too. Guzman said, "Take the time to take care of yourself, because like they say, if you don't take care of yourself how are you going to take care of somebody else?"
For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories at WearTheGown.com.
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