Counselor:“Hi, Jim. I’m glad you came in today. We’ve focused a lot on your drug use and you’ve described a lot of consequences in terms of your relationships, job, and finances. Today, I wondered if it would be okay to talk about how your use has generally affected your health.”
Jim:“Sure, I guess so.”
Counselor:“Great! First I’d like to know how much you know about your risks of getting hepatitis due to your injection drug use.”
Jim:“Well, I know some folks who have gotten sick and died from it, but I also know some who got treated and seem to be okay. I’m worried that I may have this infection and will end up like the ones who died—I’m not very lucky.”
Counselor:“It is true that hepatitis can lead to death in some people, but there have been some important improvements in hepatitis treatment over the past few years. But before we talk about hepatitis treatment, I’d like to talk a bit about how the virus is spread, tests for hepatitis, and some factors, such as alcohol use, that can affect how the virus damages the liver. Is that okay?”
Jim:“It’s something that I’d rather not think about, but I know I should. I’ve avoided getting tested because I’m worried that I’ll test positive. I don’t have any health insurance and can’t afford treatment.”
Counselor:“That’s a lot to worry about, so I do understand why you’re unsure about the next steps, if any, to take. So let’s talk a bit more about what you think your next step should be. I can tell you that we’ll do everything we can to help you. And please remember that not everyone who tests positive for hepatitis needs treatment. So, what do you think?”

From: 2, Screening for Viral Hepatitis

Cover of Addressing Viral Hepatitis in People With Substance Use Disorders
Addressing Viral Hepatitis in People With Substance Use Disorders.
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 53.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

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