Ronni Marks was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1997, a time when the Internet was new and there were no hepatitis C support groups. She promised she would never let anyone else go through this experience alone. She has kept this promise. Ronni is the organizer and facilitator of one of the longest-running and most successful hepatitis C support groups in New York City and founder of the organization, The Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group, Inc.
HEPATITIS C SUPPORT GROUPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN EVER BEFORE!
by Ronni Marks
Patient support groups are important for patients with many diseases and conditions. Hepatitis C support groups have been shown to help patients deal with their diagnoses and manage care and treatment more effectively than they would on their own. Support groups are important elements of medical care and they improve quality of life for most participants.
Support groups are more important than ever for hepatitis C patients considering treatment, or for those on treatment. As new drugs become available and are the standard of care, many patients now have trouble managing and tolerating the medications. Due to the recent influx of patients and time constraints faced by the medical establishment, medical providers are now viewing this as an essential part before, during, and after treatment. Well-facilitated support groups will help manage increased patient demand and the challenge of treatment providing an important peer support component of care.
The new meds have also made treatment more complicated and added to the side effects some people experience. Support groups provide an important place 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 safe 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. Many patients have stated that they would have never gotten through treatment had they not had these support groups to attend!
If you want to find a hepatitis C or hepatitis C/HIV/AIDS/HBV co-infection, Pre & Post Liver Transplant support group in New York, go to the Hepatitis C Support Group list under the Resources section of the website or if you are an organization, hospital, or clinic looking to start one please contact us www.hepatitisCmsg.org