PETALING JAYA: It has been a long 10-year wait for Hepatitis C patient Khairulrizan before finally being told he could be cured.
The former drug abuser said he had been living with the disease for about a decade, watching helplessly as his friends died from the silent killer because many of them did not realise they had it.
Now, with the Health Ministry’s announcement that Hepatitis C treatment would be made free for patients at government hospitals, he said he felt like he had been “brought back to life”.
“I want to become normal again, like other people,” he said.
Khairulrizan added that his family was happy with the announcement and were holding out hope that he would finally be cured.
The 40-year-old, who works with an NGO, hopes to raise awareness of Hepatitis C among the public.
“There is a lack of awareness about this illness and we have to work to ensure there is early prevention,” he said.
Another patient, who wanted to be known only as Camalia, said it had been 20 years since she tested positive for the illness.
However, she is cautious about the prospects for treatment, given the large number of patients in dire need of the drug.
The 40-year-old finance and administration manager is unsure if she is guaranteed to get the free treatment immediately because she said it would probably be given to severe cases first.
She said she would ask her doctor about the treatment at her next hospital appointment.
“My only wish is to get well. The longer we postpone the treatment, the greater the risk of liver cancer,” she said.