Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) announced Monday that he is suffering from Hepatitis C.
Johnson, a second-term congressman representing metropolitan Atlanta, said he's been suffering from the incurable disease affecting the liver for over a decade.
Johnson disclosed his disease in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday, and said that while he was declared free of the disease earlier this year, he had sustained liver damage and other health issues, for which he his currently seeking treatment.
The congressman was given a 20-year prognosis on life when he was diagnosed with the disease in 1998, with his final goal in life to become a congressman -- which he achieved in 2006 when he bested former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.).
Johnson will also seek reelection in 2010, according to the AJC:
Up for reelection in November 2010, Johnson said he is planning to begin campaigning for office again, in earnest, when he's done with his latest round of treatment in February. At least two Republican challengers have said they'll run for his seat.
The Georgia Democrat said he had not engaged in risky behavior (such as intravenous drug use) to contract the disease, and that his goal now would be to campaign against the stigma associated with Hepatitis C.
"I'm going to be a public figure who takes the sigma away from having the virus," he said.