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Having HCV in a small town vs. a big city

When a person is concerned that they may have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus, they may think about their partner, their friends, their loved ones, their feelings about such an experience, and even their health insurance. Few think about where they live, yet this detail can strongly impact the experience that person will have.

In a small town

When a person lives in a small town or rural area, they may struggle with the fears of having hepatitis C being less scary than the fears of going to the neighborhood doctor for a test. This is because, though there is always doctor/patient privacy laws (called HIPAA), some communities have neighborhood gossips and, even when others don’t, there may be a fear that someone will see something and say something. The reality is though, this is very unlikely. Some people choose to prepare a story in advance, that they’re going to get a work required check-up or they have a question about an old sports injury. This helps them to feel prepared in case they bump into someone they know in the doctor’s office waiting room and are asked what is bringing them in. If this is your concern, you can always come up with a similar story. However, when you make your appointment via phone, it is important to let the office staff know that you wish to be tested so they can properly prepare for your appointment with the proper equipment and by designating the proper time in the doctor’s schedule.

In addition, the drug addiction rates in small towns are increasing. This includes the use of IV drugs. Using IV drugs or being tattooed in an unlicensed tattoo facility (which can be considered anything from a friend or relative’s home, their underground shop, or other such places), are the top ways in which a person can be exposed to hepatitis C. If you are concerned for yourself or your loved ones, you can reach out to your local physician or clinic and discuss whether your behaviors may have left you exposed and how to help those around you to lessen their chances of exposure.

If you are diagnosed with hepatitis C, you may again feel a sense of concern related to where you live. This may be a fear that “everyone will know” or it may be a stressful experience scheduling your medical appointments if there are not many medical facilities in your area. It is important not to let these fears stop you from seeking treatment or from picking up your prescriptions or attending medical appointments. Hepatitis C can be cured and the symptoms can be treated, but only if medical intervention occurs. Without it, the body may not be able to fight the infection on its own and this can lead to numerous problems, including permanent liver damage. If you feel that your doctor’s office or pharmacy is not a safe and private place, you can always contact the facility via phone or request a meeting to discuss your concerns with the supervisor. Their jobs and their passions are to help to get and keep you healthy, they will always be happy to listen to your concerns and to work with you so you can access your treatment needs in the easiest way possible.

In a big city

In a big city, there may not be concerns about privacy. Often, there are numerous clinics and some people choose to go to one that is far outside their typical gathering spots in order to minimize the chances of bumping into someone they know while near or inside the facility. However, in a bigger city, there may be less access to a support system. Often, people move to large cities for work, which may cause them to be away from their family and close friends. During the hepatitis C testing and treatment process, you may need assistance. Sometimes this means needing someone to pick up your prescriptions if you are feeling weak, sometimes this is in having help around the house during times of exhaustion, and sometimes this can even be in having someone to point out when you may be experiencing the side effects of depression. It is important to consider these concerns when planning your treatment process, in order to ensure your access to everything you need to complete your treatment plan in full.

In larger cities, there may be more access to healthcare options, facilities, pharmacies, and companies you can hire to clean your house, deliver your medication, and assist you in all needed ways. If this is available to you, it is a wonderful option. In larger cities, there may also be numerous financial assistance plans available to those who qualify, which are worth researching if you are concerned about being able to afford treatment.1-5

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Goodnough, A. (2015). Costly to Treat, Hepatitis C Gains Quietly in U.S.. Retrieved 26 October 2016, from
  2. Hepatitis C FAQs for the Public | Division of Viral Hepatitis | CDC. (2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016, from
  3. Hepatitis C Treatment & Management: Approach Considerations, Interferons and Pegylated Interferons, Interferons and Ribavirin. (2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016, from
  4. Initial Treatment Of HCV Infection | Recommendations for Testing, Managing, and Treating Hepatitis C. (2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016, from
  5. The Solid-Gold Wonder Drug. (2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016.