HEP Hero John Kenney

June 1, 2015

John Kenney

Tattoo Enthusiast and Advocate

“I am a Hep Hero because I want to teach young people so they don’t make the same mistakes as me”

I got my first tattoo from a mate after class when I was 12, as you can see from my picture I have a lot more now, but this is not how I contracted hepatitis.

I was addicted to drugs for 35 years. One night I got desperate and shared a needle. About a week later I was found half dead.

While I was in hospital I found out I had hepatitis. While I was an addict I just didn’t give care.

In the 80’s I went to prison. I stopped using cold turkey while I was in there.

In prison I saw people get treated badly because they had hepatitis. People didn’t want to go near them.  I didn’t disclose I had hepatitis to anyone, as I was too afraid and didn’t want to know so I just ignored it.

After I got out of prison I told my GP I had hepatitis. I was tested and I had evidence of it. A couple of years later I was tested again and I was hepatitis free. I had cleared it myself. I was lucky.

A lot of people find themselves in the position I was in. Only one needle can wreck your life.

It’s important that we get the message out, especially to young people so they don’t make the same mistake as me.   Don’t share needles, don’t do backyarders and make sure the tattooist you go to has a license.

John’s message to others:

“Hepatitis is not the end. You can clear the virus and live a normal life.”

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