WATCH: A Vancouver homeless advocate is showing remarkable progress with his experimental treatment for hepatitis C. John Daly reports.
A Downtown Eastside activist who had been denied access for live-saving Hepatitis C drugs has now been given the drugs – and has a new lease on life.
“It was a complete reverse once I started the medicine,” said Brody Williams.
“The dizzy spells are going way, the pain is going away. My memory is getting better.”
Williams, who has struggled with Hepatitis C for years, now takes Harvoni, a breakthrough drug from Gilead Sciences. A 12-week course costs $67,000, and previously the federal and provincial governments had denied him treatment because he already had four different drug protocols.
He had been waiting for months, getting sicker and sicker.
“My liver was starting to shut down. I would have dizzy spells a lot, I would get really, really tired.”
Thankfully, funding was recently approved by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.
Dr. Brian Conway, Medical Director of the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, is thankful that Williams was given the treatment. But he’s hopeful it can be rolled out to more and more people in the months ahead.
“We’re very hopeful that over a short period of time, we’re going to double or triple the number of people we can treat. We’ll help a lot of people, and we’ll start preventing people from becoming infected.”