Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Not Just the Drug Users Who Catch It

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

It's Not Just the Drug Users Who Catch It

Article excerpt

Byline: By Louise Redvers

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness of a taboo virus people are often too afraid or ignorant to confront. Louise Redvers spoke to a man who has done just that

Wayne Taylor had suffered poor health for years. Sickness, dizzy spells, exhaustion and as result depression and irritability.

Trips to the doctors were inconclusive and no-one seemed to be able to put their finger on what was making him ill.

But one day Wayne, then 44, caught the tail end of radio programme that was to change his life.

"There were these people talking about being sick and feeling tired and groggy all the time," the dad-of-two from South Shields said.

"And it was like they were talking about me!"

The subject of the radio programme was the hepatitis C, something Wayne had never heard of.

His GP wasn't too clued up either and dismissed Wayne's request for a test because he didn't use drugs and had never had a tattoo.

"In the end I pretended a girlfriend had died of it," he said, "That was the only way I could get him to agree to a test, he just didn't belive I could have it."

Wayne's test came back positive and the specialists said his results suggested he'd been carrying the virus for 19 years.

"To this day I've no idea where I got it," he said. " I would have been 25 according to their calculations. I was married at the time and just starting a family."

Wayne was one of the eight out of 10 of hepatitis C carriers who don't know they've got the condition.

The blood-borne virus attacks the liver and can cause cancer or cirrhosis.

It was Wayne's failing liver that was making him so unwell. He says some of his symptoms were like terrible hangovers.

Hepatitis C is spread by sharing needles, having piercings or tattoos from unsterile equipment, receiving an infected blood transfusion and having unprotected sex.

Wayne says he doesn't fall into any of these categories but must have unknowingly been infected by a different blood to blood contact. …

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