Disclosing Your Hep C Status & Life After Hepatitis C
Last updated: February 2022
Despite the problems that we can face as people with hep C lived experience, I want to acknowledge that there are people who are diagnosed with hep C, receive treatment, and simply get on with their life. Many will do so with no interest in looking back, and may have no lasting impacts from their hep C experience. Some of the desire to move on is based in a want to forget about this chapter in their life. I know there are uniquely individual reasons, while others are fairly universal.
Many are afraid to disclose their hep C
Most people, and I estimate around 90% plus, never disclose their hep C status, other than to people who are very close. Some will feel shame over their hep C status, based on the stigma that still prevails. Keeping themselves safe by not sharing about their hep C is quite reasonable to me, given the reaction that many can face; These experiences are possible, especially in a world where there is little understanding about hep C, never mind those who would judge and dismiss off-hand with no consideration for our comfort and dignity.
Drug use & hep C stigma
Whether someone was exposed to hep C by using drugs or any other way is irrelevant to where they are now, even if they are still using drugs. Baby Boomers may have been exposed in a myriad of ways such as blood transfusion, medical care, etc., but undoubtably, many got hep C from drug use. But why do we care?! We care because we can see it as a black mark on our character. We shouldn’t feel that way, and it is my hope that we can move beyond this kind of self-imposed stigma. I am in no way suggesting that we should promote drug use as a preferred choice for anyone, but if we are honest about things, it is going to happen to some of us. It happened to many of us, and feeling shame is not going to affect a positive result, and we will never be fine now or in the future if we live with shame.
How much you share is your choice
Not everyone has the security in their life to be open about these things, and I get it. People around us may decide we are a threat or lesser in some way. This can be our problem, as much as the origins are not from within. I never suggest that any person is bound to disclose any health or other condition in their life, and that is why we cherish confidentiality. It is best for many of us to keep our private battles private, and once conquered or managed in an acceptable way for us, move on.
If you have no lingering health issues related to your hep C, I cannot argue with moving on to the next chapter, because life is for living and you deserve to live safe and secure, because you are all fine now.