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Mental Health

Hi everyone!

I am a 20 year old female, and I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. My viral count was very low luckily, so I am not on treatment. My doctor told me that I should be cautious as I get older, and get tested regularly.
I am so thankful that I do not currently have a threatening case, however my own anxiety causes me so much stress. I do not even know how I got it to be honest. I have never done any IV drugs, or had a blood transfusion. The only other option would be- unprotected sex. When my doctor told me this, it made me feel like I was... well a slut. I have only had unprotected sex with 2 people. We never did anal sex (which I read could be a cause) and I got tested for other STD's. I always feel sluggish and sometimes I have pain in my upper stomach that always worries me. I wish I had some answers, but I'm trying to accept that I will never know who gave it to me, or how.
With all that being said, it has really taken a toll on my mental health. Do you have any tips or recommendations? I just don't know how to cope with all this. I feel like I'm just overstressing for no reason because of how low my viral count was. Should I be worried?

  1. Hi Liz, welcome to our online community and thank you for sharing your situation with us. I understand that you're feeling anxious about how you may have received hepatitis C. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how they may have gotten hepatitis C. This is true for many people–who may have had exposure through blood transfusions, the workplace, or other means. I hope you didn't feel stigmatized by your doctor–<a href="https://hepatitisc.net/what-is/transmission">sexual transmission of hepatitis C is typically very low</a>.


    Are you feeling any side effects from hepatitis C? If so, it may be worth discussing treatment with your doctor. Treating hepatitis C early can stop liver scarring and inflammation, which can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver or even liver cancer. The longer patients wait, the more time there is for hep C to damage the liver.


    Have you considered seeing a therapist or mental health specialist? I want to share the contact information for Help-4-Hep, a free peer counseling network. The help is free and they’ve supported patients in navigating hep C care and treatment. They can be reached at (877) 435-7443 from 9am-9pm EST.


    lease know we're here with you for support! Let us know what questions you have or how we can help. -Matt (Community Manager)

    1. I hope that nobody has made lizhannah18 feel stigmatized in this day and time. That was the case 30+ years ago when I was diagnosed, including within my own family. However, so much more is known and understood now, and Hep C has been relatively normalized in the media and the medical community. Where once it was quietly whispered about, now there are regular TV commercials for curative treatments. I truly hope that the stigma factor is disappearing.

    2. I’m sorry to hear that you were stigmatized a long time ago. Stigma does play a part still today. In 2019, I willingly received a Hep C donor’s heart for my heart transplant. My family really didn’t understand why I would choose a Hep C donor’s heart from a 29 year old female intravenous drug addict even after seeing all the commercials on tv. However, throughout the understood my reasoning for accepting a Hep C organ. At the time of the transplant, I had and still have liver fibrosis due to an experimental open heart surgery I had as a child. Perhaps by having more people talking about the cure for hepatitis C, people may feel more talking about it and not stigmatizing the person who has Hep C. Leslie (Community Moderator)

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