Dating with Hepatitis C, Part 2: Hot and Bothered
Read part 1 of Rick's Dating with hepatitis C series.
It's important that the conversation be had before sex. Why? Well besides the ethical thing to do, it's also the law.
Disclosure laws & STD status
California is one of a few states with STD disclosure requirements. Hep C is not an STD but given that the US government sometimes classifies it as such and that it is commonly perceived to be one, a criminal or civil case would not have a hard time seeing it as one. Depending upon the situation, it could be the case that it results in jail time and/or fines.
For someone with HCV, use a condom... unless you're in a monogamous heterosexual long term relationship, then still use one, but don't be too worried if you forget.
It's important to get periodically checked for STDs yourself. Co-morbidity (multiple diseases) only makes life harder.
The risks of going public
In today's dating world if I'm Googled, my name is tied to HCV (after all I don't play hockey). There's no way to mitigate or even properly address a response in many scenarios. If your date Googled you and found out you have Hep C, and they are still talking to you... chances are they'll need clarification. Getting checked out in the virtual world never seems to feel as flattering.
Dealing with social rejection
Dating with hep C, can be weirdly discouraging, it's hard dealing with the social rejection. The important part about rejection with hep C is remembering that hep C isn't a part of who you are. Which means disregarding the disease as the source of rejection, and believing that they thought you were just not the right fit. Focusing on the disease can get in the way of real introspection.
But there is a bright side.
The silver lining
If you're into the whole monogamy and commitment thing, this does a fantastic job of weeding out people who are not relationship material. People get diseased, sick, disabled in their lives and if someone isn't ready and willing to deal with that, you're better off.
Some final takeaways on dating with hepatitis C and handling intimacy.
- If your date is unaware, be clear and honest about what you're going through. Start off with the disease as it relates to you. Eventually when you know each other better explain the rest, it's important to be very open to any questions. So have some facts prepared. Know more than you already do!
- Have the conversation before sex, to do otherwise is amoral and could get you jail time and/or fines.
- Don't worry about rejection and getting Googled, they can't be helped.
Has hep C had an impact on your relationships?