Hep Heroes Gorden Luong

January 23, 2017

Gorden Luong

I am a hep hero because I believe that through persisting education and a proper understanding of one another, our community, as a whole can prevent and eventually eradicate all possible forms of viral infections.

I hope that by becoming a Hep Hero and offering my perspective on hepatitis, I can contribute to the understanding of the struggle against the elimination of the social stigma that comes with viral hepatitis.

Currently I am a university student with a Chinese/Vietnamese background. I am part of a second generation of migrants from overseas. Upon registration for being a HEPHero, I will have spent a good year assisting Hepatitis Victoria in their work and will be finishing my 3rd year of Biomedicine & Commerce at Monash University.

Before I came into contact with Hepatitis Victoria, hepatitis was but a small word which was rarely mentioned within the family – almost as if it were a taboo to speak of it.

Only when there was a medical urgency or when the family welcomed a new member of the family did I hear the word, as part of a discussion between differing professions of medical practitioners. Other than that, I’ve had very little exposure of the word itself, and hence knew almost nothing of it right up until I came across Hepatitis Victoria.

Upon reading a number of information pamphlets from the organisation, I had come to realise the severity of the virus. Not only that, but it was such a common occurrence and yet… I have barely heard anything about it prior to meeting with Hepatitis Victoria.

Surely, with all the alcohol and smoking campaign ads, we would be more aware of an equally significant issue. But no, it is not as widely recognised as it probably should be.

This is why I had decided to spend my spare time off university studies throughout the year 2016 to raise awareness about the virus with the organisation, in the hope that one day people could be as health conscious about hepatitis as they are about responsible drinking and smoking.

Since then I have never viewed the word “hepatitis” in the same way.

Hepatitis is a silent blood-borne virus that transmissible from person-to-person through contact with the blood and often people do not know they’re infected until much later.

The damage done to their liver by the virus could already be so severe and irreparable to the point that not only their quality of life drops, but also those around them. In the worst case, through the suffering, the patient also could be branded by those closest to them, maybe avoided, even scorned.

All this, solely caused by a virus that shows no symptoms.

But don’t forget that through the many years this particular patient has lived with the virus, how many more have been infected in that time? It’s not a very pleasant thought, yes.

Although, what’s really important is to look beyond the social stigma and see Hepatitis, as a preventable and eradicable virus. Similar to how we currently view the yearly flu season.

Not only is hepatitis C now curable, but there are many facilities out there, that can provide the support needed to overcome and prevent the virus. There is nothing but ourselves now to keep us from taking action and completely eliminating this virus from the face of the earth.

Gordon’s message to others:

Prevention of the problem is always better than curing it. All it takes, is just your initiative. No more.

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