Debbie Robinson is enjoying a new lease on life after being cured of hepatitis C.
Now the proud Worimi woman is urging other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get tested even if they have no symptoms.
Ms Robinson completed the 8-12 week treatment program at Gandangara Health Service in Liverpool.
“I had a blood test, the doctor told me I had hepatitis C and I felt numb.
“Then the doctor told me I had 10 years to live. I went to Gandangara and they helped me to access treatment right away,’’ Ms Robinson said.
“If it wasn’t for Gandangara, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have done anything about it because I felt healthy.
“I felt supported every step of the way at Gandangara.
“I’m cured and have a long life ahead of me. I’m proud of myself and my family is proud of me too.’’
In a bid to eliminate hepatitis C in the region, South Western Sydney Local Health District is partnering with Gandangara Aboriginal Land Council.
District Aboriginal health director Nathan Jones said there was no shame or stigma in getting tested for hepatitis C.
“We’re encouraging more members of the Aboriginal community to get tested and treated,’’ he said.
“Let’s make a change and do all we can to eliminate hepatitis C,’’ Mr Jones said.
Gandangara Aboriginal Land Council CEO Melissa Williams said hepatitis C testing was part of routine screening by the service’s clinicians.
“People can come into Gandangara and have a confidential yarn with a GP, nurse practitioner or First Peoples health practitioner to arrange for testing or to get more information about treatment,’’ Ms Williams said.
For more details, visit www.hep.org.au or phone 1800 803 990.