Emma Currie

Hepatitisc.net community advocate Emma CurrieHi! I’m Emma! I’m a person with the lived experience of hepatitis C.

My hepatitis C journey started when I was diagnosed at the age of 18. I was attending university in Vancouver and began to feel very ill: nosebleeds, yellowing eyes, and malaise. Not the kind of health problems you would expect from a teenager. After multiple blood tests, I was told I had hepatitis C. And that was it. My diagnosing doctor had almost no information other than, “it’s a liver disease, you probably got it from shooting up.” That also marked my first experience with hepatitis C stigma.

The minute I was able I absorbed myself in researching what hepatitis C was, how to manage it and how to treat it. I had to because nobody else was providing me any education. I was dismayed to find at the time the only treatment included complicated injections that could leave me fatigued and in pain (Interferon and Ribavirin.) But I knew there was hope! My family doctor told me to hold off, clinical trials had been successful for a new treatment that cured hep c, and we just were waiting for the drug to come on the market. In 2016, a week after the DAA’s were approved for coverage in British Columbia, I was able to experience the ‘cure’ for myself. I had an easy, symptom-free 12 weeks of Epclusa and today I sit, still clear of the virus!

My journey with advocacy started at a young age. I learned early on through my own experience of how damaging stigma can be. My first experience with advocacy started when I identified a flawed legal and medical system regarding addiction treatment. I wrote my first opinion newspaper article at the age of 16 calling for the decriminalization and legal access to illicit substances. I received much backlash, especially from the then incumbent mayor of Kamloops, but it didn’t stop me. I had my first taste of social justice and I was hooked! My advocacy has taken many forms: cannabis education, child protection, and family law, lgbtq+ rights, dermatillomania awareness, addiction, autism awareness and acceptance, ADHD, domestic violence, drug harm reduction, and now, hepatitis C! I have always had a passion for working with the vulnerable and marginalized because I have been vulnerable and marginalized.

My work with hepatitis c did not start until the fall of 2019 when I began working for the Aids Society of Kamloops as a blood-borne infection health navigator (ASK Wellness.) As a person with lived experience of hepatitis C, I felt I could be a valuable asset when working with people with a positive diagnosis, and I was right! I still have so much to learn when it comes to my work with marginalized persons living with HCV or HIV, and every day I learn something new or have to tackle a situation creatively. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

When I’m not working or busy advocating I lead a very average life with my children and partner in beautiful British Columbia! I love yoga, fishing, hunting, drawing, and anime! I am so fortunate, that despite having many obstacles and invisible afflictions I have been able to give back and promote awareness for the things that are important to me.

Click here to read all of Emma’s articles on Hepatitisc.net.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.