The stigma attached to hepatitis C

"In October 2012 I accidentally ‘stumbled’ upon a weekly support group for sufferers of Hepatitis C in Swindon. Here I met others covering a wide spectrum of experience, some with the disease awaiting treatment, others who had been through treatment and either cleared or not cleared the virus. There were carers of sufferers (like Vivien) and last but not least, occasional visitors from various branches of the medical profession with an interest in Hepatitis C who wanted to learn more about the disease from patients actually suffering from it, so hats off to them. The group is run by a rock musician who came through years of addiction himself and lost most things of value in his life along the way. He’s been ‘clean’ for seven years now and it’s his experience that drives this group forward. Many agencies working in related fields are now coming to us to learn more about what we’re doing and how we do it. There is a good mix of people here, others like me who experimented with drugs in the late 60s/70s, finished and moved on, only to later find the disease had lain dormant in their bodies for 30–40 years before jumping out later to bite us in the ass. There are many ex drug addicts too, most of whom are currently going through rehab and doing all it takes to get clean and reclaim their lives (not easy). Virtually all the drug addicts I have come into contact with suffered some sort of abandonment or abuse as kids, whether mental or physical, and drugs became their escape from the nightmare. Wrong choice? Whose fault? It is for these kids I go to the weekly meetings and participate in this blog, hoping to ‘debunk’ some of the misconceptions surrounding the disease and those who have it, and to help in any way I can anyone people suffering from it and looking for advice/information/support. We all make personal choices for various reasons based on our own unique experiences at the time we experience them. For young kids who turned to drugs to help them deal with their issues, and have now made a commitment to change their lives, I believe they deserve every chance for a route back into society and all the help they can get." This blog post was bought to you by Kelvin Marshall, who attends Hep C Positive in Swindon. Read his original blog and other hep C specific items here: www.hepcpositive.org.uk


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