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Stories

HEP Hero Joel Murray

June 1, 2015

Joel Murray

Community Advocate

“I wanted to become a Hep Hero because I’m capable and confident to speak out. Therefore I feel I can help speak out for those who can’t do so – who don’t feel they have a voice.“

I’m a country boy who moved to the city, contracted HIV, then six months later contracted Hep C via sexual transmission. Both diagnoses were very confronting and hard to deal with, but learning I had Hep C was a complete shock to me as I thought only IV drug users got it. I am currently on drug therapy for my HIV, which has had a very positive impact on my health and energy levels, and life in general.

I was advised to try to treat my Hep C while it was in the acute phase, with dual Interferon and Ribavirin therapy. This therapy impacted severely on my work and personal life. Also unfortunately I did not clear the virus as I had to cease therapy due to mental health issues exacerbated by the dual therapy regime I was on. This also impacted on my professional life and I subsequently lost my job. I have had no significant relationships since being diagnosed 4 years ago.  I have also abstained from alcohol.

Since diagnosis I have been on community radio as I am passionate about raising awareness by putting personal narrative and a face to the disease. Being involved in this form of education on community radio has been my way of reducing stigma and myths in the community and also reducing discrimination.
“Get involved as it’s really empowering raising awareness and telling your personal story so others can be empowered. It’s also helped me come to terms with my disease and helped me see I’m not alone.”

Joel’s message to others:

“Get involved as it’s really empowering raising awareness and telling your personal story so others can be empowered. It’s also helped me come to terms with my disease and helped me see I’m not alone.”

 

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