'There is no stigma, no fear. I'm a free man' - former Hepatitis C sufferer urges those with virus to get help

A former Hepatitis C sufferer is urging those with the virus to come forward and get help.

New tablets are now available to treat the virus which mainly affects the liver.

File image.

Around 30,000 people have Hep C, which Ireland is hoping to eliminate over the next 12 years.

Patrick says he is a new man after getting rid of it.

He said: "I was a chronic drug user because I didn't care, I did not care. I had a virus in my body, now I don't have that virus, now I'm a free man.

I'm not scared to bump into people, talk to people, sit and communicate. There is no stigma, no fear. I'm a free man.

Professor Jack Lambert says there are humane and economic reasons to eliminate Hep C.

He said: "If the virus stays in your system for 10, 20, 30 years it causes cirrhosis, your liver is gone, you need a transplant, it causes liver cancers, so it doesn't kill you in the short run.

"It is a huge burden to society to let people develop cirrhosis and to need a transplant."

- Digital Desk

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