Since contracting hepatitis C 25 years ago, Lucinda Porter’s biggest fear has been that she would infect someone else with the deadly virus. “Whenever I cut myself and saw the smeared blood, I would panic,” she says.
Within days of contracting the illness, Ms Porter was hit with severe fatigue, weakness and a loss of appetite. She spent most of the next two decades trapped in a “low-level brain fog”, unable to concentrate and prone to severe bouts of muscle-pain and fever.
She tried two courses of treatment, both of which failed. By 2003, she had to face up to the possibility that she would die from hepatitis C, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.
“I’ve seen people die from this . . . it is one of the worst deaths there is,” says Ms Porter, a nurse.