Hepatitis Victoria Volunteer, Public SPeaker and Hepatitis Australia's Outstanding Volunteer Award winner
"I am a Hep Hero because I feel I can use my own personal experiences to help and guide others to make healthier life choices and hopefully clear the virus”
Back in the mid 70s, I dabbled with drugs of all sorts, from smoking cannabis, to injecting psychedelics. I also used backyard-tattooing methods with minimal safety procedures. I thought I was superman!
Most things I gave up by the early 80s, as I thought more about what I was doing with my body, and I was going through a fitness phase, so drugs went on the backburner.
During the early 90s, my body was in pain and I had feelings of being uncomfortable and not in control of my health. So I sought help through my local GP and the government’s health services.
I was diagnosed with hepatitis C, and was advised by my doctor to wait for better treatment i.e. better drug and support services. I had moved to Darwin to be closer to better health services but Menzies School of Health couldn’t help me at the time. So I decided to move to a bigger capital city.
My doctor referred me to Austin Health, and in late 2011 I was offered to go on a clinical trial with standard interferon, ribavirin and two trial drugs. After the first week on trial, my viral load was undetectable, I was advised that treatment would be only 6 months.
After completing the trial, the treatment was considered a cure for me.
I think that everybody should be aware of the pitfalls of using unsafe drug practices, about sharing equipment and the dangers of blood borne diseases, so that future generations will be free of these complications and can get through their addictions less painfully.
A few months after stopping treatment, I decided to become a volunteer or Hepatitis Victoria, to show my thanks for supporting me through my treatment. My philosophy is if you can guide people into doing the right thing, then half the battle’s won.
There is so much more information out there now, compared to what was around in the 70s and 80s, and this information can change people’s lives.