Hepatitis C: Reaching Out for Support

It’s your choice to tell family, friends or people at work that you have hepatitis C.

Tell people you trust who will give you the support that you need.

Reaching out to people may help you feel better, knowing that you have someone to talk to about Hep C.

Why disclose?

People want to disclose (tell others) that they are living with hepatitis C for different reasons, including:

  • To get support from others who have gone through or are still going through the same experience.
  • To get appropriate care and medication from their healthcare provider. If you have Hep C, you’ll want to tell your healthcare providers, including your dentist. This is especially important if they need to give you medication, because some medicines may hurt your liver.
  • To protect others. Let the people in your life what to do so they do not get infected with Hep C from you or someone else. You may want to tell your employer if there might be a chance you could transmit the virus to someone at work. Some employers have an employee assistance program that can help you with healthcare or counselling.
Disclosure and caution against discrimination

You need to be aware that some people may not understand much about Hep C. Some people with hepatitis C have to deal with a lot of stigma, especially if they are drug users. The important thing to know is that you have rights just like everyone else and should be able to access to healthcare services like everyone else. 

When you decide to tell people that you have Hep C, tell people you trust who will understand your situation and give you the support that you need.

How do you tell someone about living with Hep C?

It may be hard for you to tell someone that you have hepatitis C. Here are a few suggestions of how you can talk about it. As you will be sharing information that is important to you, try to think about where, when and how you would like to tell someone. Would you be more comfortable telling them:

  • in a public or private place?
  • over the phone, by email or in person?

You could then say something like:

  • “I have something I’d like to tell you…”
  • “I feel that our relationship is strong, so I feel I can tell you that…”
  • “Remember how I went to the doctor’s office/clinic a few weeks ago?…”

People may react differently when you tell them the news. Give them time to take it in and try to help them understand by sharing the information you’ve learned about Hep C with them. If you want people you tell to keep the news a secret and not tell others, let them know so they can respect your wishes. 

Source: hepcinfo.ca

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