One In Five for Sunday 10 November 2013
It often goes unseen but, when people do come across this disability, they don't always offer support or understanding Hepatitis C causes fatigue, pain and can lead to serious liver damage but it also carries with it a stigma. That is because the virus is mainly spread by contact with blood and its often associated with the use of intravenous drugs.
Christchurch's free Hepatitis C Community Clinic is the first of its kind in the country. It estimates that 50,000 New Zealanders have the virus, but less that 25 percent of them know it.
Katy Gosset visits the clinic and finds out why the stigma associated with Hepatitis C can be almost as disabling as the virus itself.
Right: Marilyn Brown and Jenny Bourke (seated), employees at Christchurch's Hepatitis C Community Clinic