Demystifying Hepatitis C for Native Americans: Antonio Gonzalez's Story

When Antonio Gonzalez was diagnosed with hepatitis C in Geneva, Switzerland, doctors told him if he didn't get a new liver within five years, he didn't stand a chance at a long life. As he waited for a new liver, Gonzalez thought about all the moments he'd miss. He wanted to be around for his son's graduation.

Gonzalez hadn't even heard of hepatitis C when he was diagnosed, and didn't know how he got it. A Native American and member of the Comcáac nation, he surmised that he was probably infected with hepatitis C while fighting in Vietnam, where he suffered from many major open wounds.

While he was sick, Gonzalez put together a box of things that people could remember him by after he passed away. When he finally got his liver transplant in 2005, he was able to unpack the box and begin living again. "So beautiful to receive a liver and to unpack, like, 'I'm not going anywhere!'" he said.

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