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Sam Jones

"I don't see myself as a hero necessarily but I do thoroughly enjoy educating other PWID about Hepatitis (HCV especially) and encouraging my peers to take control of their health including researching and educating themselves about Hep C."

Everything from transmission risks to treatment to disclosure and dealing with the myths and stigma and discrimination we face daily. Empowerment through knowledge and myth busting is my bag and I am very passionate about it.

I am a mother, daughter, mover, shaker, creative, intuitive, animal lover and stuff maker, worker bee, life player, part time sooth sayer, peer educator and friend, of Maori/Canadian blend, loyal , trust worthy, honest, down to earthy, and resident of the world.

I have had hepatitis C for the past 20+ years. I’ve known about it for approximately 15 years. That is 15 years of feeling personally responsible for my blood- whether it spills, drips or leaks, whether I tell people or not.

Feeling like I am obligated to, but knowing the repercussions of doing so. Up until now I have never been interested in treatment - I witnessed the mess the old treatments made of peoples bodies and lives.

I will hopefully get my first prescription of the new DAA's now on Sept 21. I am curious, if not a bit wary, of what it will be like to live without the identity I have loathed for so long, but learned to embrace and stand tall with, so I could show others that people with Hep C are just that...PEOPLE.

You can’t make progress without communication. You can’t have communication if people are petrified to share their experiences.

We need to normalise these diagnoses so people will feel free to look after themselves-whether that means immediate treatment or just having a community to support you and communicate to until you do decide treatment is right for you.

 

Sam's message to others:

Be proud of who you are. Be honest and forth coming.

 

You are NOT the only one in the world to have hepatitis. It is common. More common than people let on.

 

Don't be ashamed of having experiences. Hepatitis is another experience - from transmission to treatment. 

 

If your 'no shame' gives one other person the courage to step up and look into and after their health by knowing what their health status is than you have achieved something awesome.