Anake got a sharp wake-up call in early 2017 with a diagnosis of hep C as a result of a routine blood test.
The range of immediate responses was a classic list of shock, disbelief, denial and lots of confusion. “It’s not possible! But how, when, where did I contract it? What does this mean? What are my options? Who can I even discuss this with?”
Christchurch’s Hepatitis C Community Clinic offered straightforward and clear advice in a supportive environment, and he was able to quickly find his way through and the decisions that needed to be made. As is always the case, learning that you share your circumstances with a bunch of other people makes it that much easier.
The Clinic connected him to James’ Fix Hep C buyers’ club and by the end of the year he was confirmed clear of the virus after a straightforward – and relatively side – effects free – course of imported generic medication. The treatment cost ~NZ$2,000 through this route as opposed to an estimated ~NZ$100,000 for Gilead patented drugs from the U.S.
Having learned about the issues, options and challenges for hep C patients, and keen to contribute to improved treatment opportunities for others, Anake connected with Hazel (and realised a number of existing close connections).
Patient advocacy group Hep C Action Aotearoa is the resulting vehicle for change. It is this group’s shared response to an incredible opportunity to significantly improve the quality of life of some 50,000 Kiwis and millions globally.