“I am a Hep Hero because I want to inspire others to stand up against stigma and live healthier lives.”
I am a social worker, student and performance poet living in Melbourne. I contracted hepatitis C when I was 14 years old through the Alfred hospital. I am a haemophiliac, which is a type of bleeding disorder, and received many blood transfusions as part of treating that condition.
There was very little support or information offered to me about the condition and I lived with hepatitis C virus growing up feeling very isolated and believing I couldn’t touch people. Only after several years of living with hep C did I discover this was incorrect.
Interferon treatment started to be offered to haemophiliac in the early 2000s, and eventually as my liver started to deteriorate I was put on a 6 month course of treatment. Although it was very difficult enduring months of treatment regime with ribavirin, the medicine worked and I was pronounced clear of the virus in early 2006.
Since then I’ve gone on to live a healthy and happy life, and now I want to contribute to helping other people living with hepatitis.
It’s important to breakdown the stigma surrounding hep C because it prevents people from seeking out or attaining treatment, which perpetuates more hepatitis infections rates throughout the community.
I believe that people deserve health care and medical treatment, free from judgement, regardless of social status or lifestyle.
Steven’s message to others:
What I have learnt from the journey through hepatitis (and navigating the medical system) is how to advocate for myself and others.
Keep asking questions, and demanding answers and access.
Get tested, get treated, don’t give up, don’t take no for an answer, and look after yourself out there.