A slew of new medications to treat the hepatitis C virus entered the market last year, promising that just about anyone with the disease can be cured. The medications were a groundbreaking development, especially for older patients who’ve suffered through earlier, less effective treatments, only to have the disease return.
Author: Julia Landau
After years of strategizing, Highland Hospital departed from convention with the Pain Management and Functional Restoration Clinic. Both chronic pain and opiate addiction are endemic in the low-income communities that make up their patient base. They wanted to address the first problem adequately, without adding to the second – so they turned to an “addiction drug.”
One in three baby boomers have been exposed to hepatitis C, but funding for testing and outreach efforts still fall short, advocates say.
A rag-tag band of protesters is becoming familiar on the streets of Oakland and they’re not part of the Occupy movement. This miniature society, which calls “Hep C Free Oakland” its goal, is a group of patient-volunteers and staff members from a medical clinic that centers on treating hepatitis C in people with addiction problems.
Richmond has the lowest per-capita income in the Bay Area and one of the highest unemployment rates. The city is also home to one of the biggest populations of people newly released from prison in Contra Costa County. Ex-cons already vie for services with other needy people in the city, and more ex-offenders are expected in Richmond as prison realignment rolls out. Who is going to make sure they get services like housing, rehab and employment assistance – the kind of help prison realignment suggests is going to keep them from re-offending?
“All of us are in frantic mode,” said Contra Costa County’s Chief Probation Officer Phil Kader. He spoke as he passed out a tentative budget to the 14 criminal justice and social service professionals who attended a recent budget meeting of the Public Safety Realignment Executive Committee for Contra Costa County.
Deshawn Lamar Clark was released from San Quentin State Prison and returned to where he grew up, near Richmond, Calif., in December of 2005. He was 30 years old. He returned to Richmond a homeless, jobless man. He owed child support to the mothers of his twelve children. The fine print under his freedom was getting larger. He was staying out of the drug business, but he still lived on the fringes and drove without the blessing of the DMV.
City and county health workers joined with community activists and organizers around this theme: Richmond’s mission begins with something as simple as more bicycles. They’ve coordinated with the goal of improving the health and wellness of Richmond’s people, and they’re aiming at the goal from many different angles.
Richmond, California, is a city of contradictions. Chevron operates its second largest oil refinery on the city’s western border. The city is emerging as a leader in “urban greening” – city planning that upgrades public spaces with walkable and bikable routes and natural vegetation. It’s as if ex-spouses are living next door to each other.
They come in trucks, on foot, in the middle of the night or the middle of the day, slipping into the alleyway running behind 7th St. in the Iron Triangle section of Richmond, and leaving behind bags of garbage, construction debris, and just about anything too big to fit into an average trash can.