Meet Gino. He is a 35-year-old student living in Christchurch. Gino grew up in China but moved to New Zealand in 2015 to study and gain some overseas work experience.
Gino was diagnosed with hepatitis B when he was 19-years-old when he lived in China. “I went for an interview at the air force and as part of the process, I had to have a health check. Unfortunately, I was turned away because the tests revealed I had the hepatitis B virus. I didn’t know I had the virus before then and I didn’t know anything about it.
“I’m not sure how I contracted the virus but it must have been at high school because I boarded at school far away from home.”
Gino’s mother also lives with hepatitis B and he says he worries about her health.
He says he didn’t contact the virus from his mother because he had been tested when he was at school and he tested negative for the virus at the time.
Fortunately, the virus has little effect on Gino’s life and he doesn’t experience any symptoms but he still ensures he looks after his health.
“Over the last 10 years, I’ve done a lot of research about hepatitis B. I make sure I have my six-monthly blood tests and regular ultrasounds.
“Take time to learn more about the virus and how to manage it. Doing that has helped me live well and it might help other people too.”
“I’ve stopped drinking alcohol. I used to drink a lot for social events at work but I don’t anymore because I need to look after my liver.”
Gino advises other people living with hepatitis B to drink less alcohol, stop smoking and do more exercise. “I think the most important thing to have is a positive attitude. If you carry too much worry about hepatitis B it will affect your life. Take time to learn more about the virus and how to manage it. Doing that has helped me live well and it might help other people too.”
In his spare time, Gino enjoys running, swimming, playing basketball and soccer. “I also tried rugby when I first came to New Zealand. I like to try different outdoor activities.”
© The Hepatitis Foundation of New Zealand 2016