Steve Frost owes the life he leads today to new hepatitis C treatments, and has appealed to Border people who are yet to seek help.
Mr Frost, who received treatment in Western Australia, shared the circumstances that led to him contracting the virus at a Hepatitis NSW forum at Atura.
"My father died when I was young and the family fell apart, I was abused at school ... I was 18 when I started using heroin at parties," he said.
"In the '90s I was tested by doctors and moved from the country to the city to be treated at a hepatology clinic."
Mr Frost accessed the direct-acting antiviral drugs soon after they were listed on the PBS in March, 2016, and actually doubted the success of the treatment, he experienced so little side effects.
"Three years later, there's certainly more to the story," he said.
"I lost 25 kilograms, I'm healthy, I have a house and life is fantastic again.
"We deserve to have this treatment."
The first time Mr Frost met Farrer MP Sussan Ley upon moving to Albury earlier this year, he approached the former Health Minister to say "You saved my life".
Ms Ley spoke to Mr Frost's message that people should not be discriminated against because of their condition and said announcing the PBS listing was "one of her proudest days".
"There was a long wave of passionate representation [to list the drugs]," she said.
"People experienced deep depression - no wonder they couldn't cope.
"Today is not about celebrating an achievement - but it is very much a call to action across the entire health system."
Hepatitis NSW outgoing chief executive Stuart Loveday said throughout the month of November, an awareness-raising campaign would run in Albury, focusing on "people who contracted hepatitis C a long time ago" through blood-to-blood contact.
Those who have injected drugs or have been exposed to non-sterile needles through tattooing and other means, and people who may have received blood transfusions before screening started in the 1990s, are identified as at-risk.
Because many people do not display symptoms until liver damage has occurred, Wodonga physician Tim Shanahan commented there would be some merit in introducing routine testing for Baby Boomers.
He said former treatments with poorer success rates and horrible side effects had been replaced by a 12-week treatment with a 95 per cent success rate.
"It really was very imperfect, and unfortunately caused significant physical and psychological side effects," he said.
"This was the situation up until three years ago ... it's now not a case of if they will be cured, but when.
"It's very rare that someone has to stop treatment ... these new antiviral medications don't need to be specialist-prescribed, and some local GPs in Albury-Wodonga are now taking this on."
MLHD HIV and related programs manager Alison Nikitas said a surge in people accessing treatment had slowed, including in the Murrumbidgee where the most recent target of treating 200 people fell short by 50.
"In June 2019, 40 per cent of those people [estimated to be living with hepatitis C in the Murrumbidgee] came through treatment," she said.
"The influx has slowed, so if we want to reach our goal of elimination, we have to do a lot more work."
During Hepatitis Awareness Week in July, Murrumbidgee Local Health District stated for each patient cured, the NSW healthcare savings are $1612 per year - equating to $82 million in savings and more than 22,000 patients cured since the new treatments became available in 2016.
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For more information on testing, treatment, and prevention for hepatitis C call the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 900 or visit hepc.org.au.