Andrew - Interview 08

Age at interview: 54

Brief outline: Andrew discovered he had hepatitis C virus in 2003, when he went to his GP after feeling unwell. He believes he got it from having a tattoo in Spain. He has recently agreed to take part in a biobanking study.

Background: Andrew is a former van delivery driver (now unemployed). He is married with no children. Ethnic background' White English.

Audio & video

Andrew was working as a delivery driver when he felt really ill one day in 2003. His GP advised him it might be porphyria, and that this was commonly associated with infection with the Hepatitis C virus. So Andrew did a test and was told he did indeed have Hepatitis C. He was shocked, as he had always thought of it as something affecting injecting drug users, and he has never used drugs. Looking back he thinks he probably got it from having a tattoo with an unclean needle when he was in Spain. He had a year of treatment, a combination of ribavirin and interferon, and found it made him feel very unwell, depressed and tired. Unfortunately the treatment did not work, and he has not been able to clear the virus from his system. The condition still affects his energy levels, his appetite and his sex drive, and it has left him with a lot of uncertainty about his future.

Andrew believes that people should not try to hide it if they have Hepatitis C. He found it really helpful talking to other people with the condition at a support group, and is sad the group had to stop meeting because of lack of funding. He knows some people don’t like to join groups and prefer to keep the condition secret, but he feels people should not have to feel ashamed about it.
He has recently agreed to take part in a biobanking study, in which blood and liver tissue samples will be taken for research purposes. Andrew feels very strongly that helping others is a duty in life, and he is very much in favour of research, even though he knows it is unlikely to help him personally. He feels he has had excellent care, and doctors can only improve the way they look after people if patients are willing to volunteer for research.


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