IN 1965 David Singerman was knocked down by a car as he crossed the road. As a result he was given a blood transfusion.

Thirty-five years later, David, now 63, was to discover that the life-saving treatment had in fact led to him contracting hepatitis C.

"In 2000 I went to my doctor because I had a rash on my groin and I thought I might need some ointment.While I was there my GP said I wasn't looking that well and he suggested that I have some blood tests. That's when they discovered I had hepatitis C," said David ahead of World Hepatitis Day onMonday.

David was Professor of Mathematics at Southampton University and the husband of a former mayor of the city, Margaret Singerman.

As well as being contracted through blood transfusions carried out prior to 1991, hepatitis C is commonly associated with drug users.

David, of Harefield, Southampton, explained he had never suffered from any stigma surrounding the virus, but admitted his GP had jumped to conclusions when he was first diagnosed.

"The doctor sort of assumed that because I had been at university in the 60s I must have been a drug user, but I assured him I had never taken drugs in my life."

David has had to come to terms with his prognosis and the likelihood that he will need to have a liver transplant at some point.

There is a treatment for hepatitis C that works in 50 per cent of cases - sadly, David's was not one of them. The condition can also lead to episodes in which the brain stops working properly and, in David's terms, you become "totally stupid".

"It's happened to me three times and can last for days at a time," he said.

David realised these times when he just could not think clearly were incompatible with his work at Southampton University and, reluctantly after 37 years, he decided to take early retirement.

He is still heavily involved in research and is a supporter of the world awareness day.

"In previous years I have helped with raising awareness in the city on World Hepatitis Day.

Afterwards someone came up to me and thanked me for doing it - they explained that as a result thay had been for a blood test and discovered they had hepatitis C too."

OnMonday, David and Margaret will be at a special event in Cornwall when Chrissie Davis and her partner John, who both have hepatitis C, will marry.

"I tend to be a very positive person and I don't dwell too much on what the future may hold. I don't mind who I tell that I have hepatitis C. I've never felt descriminated against and I've never felt the stigma that some people talk about," he said.