BEN'S STORY: A GOOD USE OF TIME
I started using very young. Everything fell away. I wasn’t going to school, just using.
After a while, I decided that wasn’t how I wanted my life to go. I decided to join the army so I went back to school to do my School Certificate so I could qualify. At 17, I applied. I was given all sorts of tests as part of the army recruiting process, including blood tests. That’s when I found out I had hep C. I had never shared a fit, but I did share spoons and tourniquets and I’m guessing that’s how I got it.
To get into the army, I was required to do the treatment and reapply when I was cleared. The only treatment at the time was the old interferon treatment. I had heard plenty of negative things about that, including that it lasted a year and often didn’t work. It just seemed too hard for no guaranteed result.
When I came into jail and knew the new treatments were up and running, I hassled and hassled to go on them. I started the meds in Cessnock and finished them at Parklea.
I had to take two tablets every day for 12 weeks. I had a dull headache for the first few days and a little bit of sleeplessness, but no other side effects. I am now hep C-free and I highly recommend the treatment.
I’ve put on a bit of weight since I cleared the hep C! I’m healthier for it, but I’m now hitting the gym to firm up and get fitter.
I recently went to an information session on hep C held by Justice Health. I had a good idea what was going on in the hep C field, but I have to say the stats were a real eye opener. We’ve got to keep thinking about hep C because it explodes in jail. Lots of people use for the first time in here. It’s because it’s boring and using makes the time go easier. The more we know how to prevent hep C, the better.
It’s fantastic that treatment is available in jail. It’s something very positive you can do for yourself while you’re here, something good you can do for yourself.
Hep C was holding me back. I’m so relieved to be free of it and now I’m motivated me to get healthy in other ways. All that will really help me focus on looking forward when I get out of here.