Here’s the sort of news article that makes me feel like starting my day with a gin and tonic (Don’t worry, I won’t): Woman with Hep-C virus spits blood on officer, police say…
Here are some choice morsels from the article:
“A woman positive for Hepatitis C spit blood on a police officer, yelled obscenities and told him she hopes he contracts the virus, police say…
…Rodriguez started to yell obscenities at officers, refused to follow commands and became combative, police say. She then proceeded to split blood on a city officer several times and yelled, “I hope you (expletive) get Hep-C,” court documents say…
..Police confirmed Rodriguez in the past had been tested positive for the Hepatitis C virus. The officer, who had blood on his arms, had to be treated at St. Luke’s Fountain Hill for exposure to Hepatitis C, police state in court records…”
Here is what gets to me about this article:
- First, spit is icky and it makes me sad to think about the hate and craziness this woman lives with and intended to inflict on police officers.
- Second: it gives bad information about hepatitis C. This virus is transmitted by blood-to-blood contact. It is really unlikely that anyone was at risk from her spit, even if the officer was bleeding.
- Third, the officer was treated at St. Luke’s Fountain Hill for exposure to hepatitis C? Perhaps this could have been worded more accurately, something like, “counseled at St. Luke’s Fountain Hill regarding potential exposure to hepatitis C.”
- Fourth, the journalist could have used the opportunity to educate the public about hepatitis C transmission, prevention, and treatment.
- Fifth, this deepens the stigma that people with hepatitis C already carry.
It makes me sad when hepatitis C infection is seen or used as a destructive force. I wish everyone with hepatitis C acted responsibly with his or her blood and body secretions. However, with millions of infected people, it is likely that we are going to run into these tragic stories from time to time. I think they are best left unreported. This certainly isn’t worth making the news or becoming a felony charge. It stigmatizes the rest of us.