One of the things that makes Hepatitis C such a difficult virus to deal with is the stigma it carries. Mention hep c to anyone who has had little to do with it and they will refer to it as the junkie virus or the druggie illness.

That’s what some people think. And sometimes, just sometimes, you meet someone so mean-spirited that they think Hepatitis C is retribution for past sins.

It’s hard to tell people what’s wrong with you when you know they might judge you.

For those of us who have shared about our illness with others, often it’s done with a measure of fear. What will people say? What will they think? You choose who you tell very carefully. It’s almost like being invited into someone’s most private inner sanctum.

It is a mark of absolute trust.

I might not know much about hep c but I know this with absolute certainty. There are a few ways to get this virus, and I don’t care how you got it.

I care about the important things. I care about you. I care about me. I care about our families who have to live through these difficult times with us. But I don’t care how you contracted it.

I don’t care, because we are all fighting this fight together. I don’t care because you are not your past. Hands up those people who never made a bad decision. I’ve made plenty. From those appalling hairstyles in the 70s right through to not stopping drinking the minute I found out I had hep c. Sure I regret them, but  I refuse to be defined by them.

Right here, right now I am a hard-working member of society who is valued for their contribution to a number of charities and welfare organisations. I have a job where I make a difference to people’s lives every day I go there. I’m a good person. I bet you are too.

Perhaps it’s time to cut ourselves a little slack. Maybe it’s time to forgive ourselves. Apart from our health, it might be the biggest gift we can give ourselves.  

 Don’t allow yourself to be framed by the past. Frame yourself in your own bright future.