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For World Hepatitis Day 2016, Hepatitis Scotland were very happy to publish a series of video stories of people’s experience with hepatitis C, from diagnosis through to living with the virus, the serious complications involved and the treatment. These videos highlight how hepatitis affects people in many ways, yet there are common themes such as the need for testing, the difficulty of dealing with some of the symptoms of the illness, and the real impact it has had on people’s lives and health.
The first story is from Thomas. Thomas is originally from Glasgow but is now living in Oban. He got the infection many years ago and went through two courses of treatment before one of the new treatments finally cleared it. He urges people to take action against the virus.
“I wanted to tell my story because there are loads of people out there who will be going through the same, if not worse. I’m living proof of how much things have advanced over the past few years, not just the treatments but also the terms of support available. There is genuine hope out there for everyone. Go out, find out about it, make your own mind up and do it, because it’s worth it."
The next story is from Robert, from Shetland. He found out he was probably infected with hepatitis C after a blood transfusion in the mid-1970s, but wasn’t diagnosed until 2008.
Having recently had a liver transplant, he says, “Get tested, it takes a minute and the sooner they find it, the sooner they can treat it and you won’t have to go through the sort of experience that me and a lot of other people have gone through.”
Our final story comes from William, from Glasgow. He was diagnosed by chance by a locum GP. He has now successfully cleared the virus, and encourages people to overcome their fears around testing.
“I would advise anybody to go to your GP, have one blood test, just ask them to test you for hepatitis C. You can get better. It's alright me sitting here saying that, I was terrified at first, but I overcame my own fears to deal with it. It’s the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life.“
You can view all of their videos here.