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John DeFazio is a dedicated man – to his country, his city and his family.
He is also dedicated to helping others living with hepatitis C.
John, 62, a Vietnam veteran and retired New York City firefighter, was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1994.
“When I was diagnosed, I didn’t tell anyone. It was such a stigma to have hepatitis C back then. I isolated myself from my family and friends and sunk into a severe depression,” says John.
And the emotional and physical ups and downs of treatment took their toll not only on him but his wife. “I tried countless treatments for hepatitis C in various combinations with interferon and would initially respond. My wife and I would get so excited, thinking that we would finally beat this only to be disappointed when my disease rallied.”
However, after starting the new medications that were approved late last year, Olysio and Sovaldi, he responded immediately. After only 8 weeks into the 12-week course of treatment, his viral count dropped to zero from a high of 2.8 million. One month after completing treatment, John continues to show no signs of the virus.
“John is a model patient and an inspiration to others,” says his doctor, Hillel Tobias, MD, professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine, medical director of the NYU Liver Transplant Service and co‐chair of the American Liver Foundation’s National Medical Advisory Committee. “He has done exceptionally well with very few side effects. We are very excited about his progress.”
Says John, “I want people to know that hepatitis C is not a life sentence. It is very difficult to hear that you have hepatitis C, but don’t give up hope that one day you will also hear that you are free of the virus.”