In 2006 I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. Since I had no symptoms I did nothing about it until about 2 years ago. Shortly after beginning treatment I took an Addaction course and became a peer educator in blood borne viruses. The side effects of the treatment are marked and quite unpleasant (mood swings, dehydration, nausea, etc) and I felt I needed some support. I got none. After the first course of treatment (6 months) the virus came back and I embarked upon a second course, for a year this time. There still was none so I thought that I would get the support I needed by supporting others. In January, C Plus was born. I offer support groups, telephone and online support and I facilitate awareness sessions for anyone willing to listen.
I've just completed the second course of treatment and the viral load is undetectable! There is, however, a 6 month waiting period during which I have 2 more viral load tests. At the end of 6 months, if it's still undetectable, I'm in the clear..I'm struggling to get funding for this very worthwhile service but I won't give up!
Jon's latest update: In October 2014, I received the call that every hep C sufferer wants - I got the all clear! I won't bore you with my feelings at the time. Use your imagination. And that's the good news.
The bad news is that, due to lack of funding and volunteers, I shut C Plus down in February of this year. It was heartbreaking, knowing how much good I could have done with the benefit of a little generosity. I still do the job, but as the BBV lead with Chichester Exact, a local service user group. Since I am now retired I have plenty of time to devote to the job.