Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

HCV and Job Hunting

The Stress of Job Hunting

The process of job hunting is stressful even in the best circumstances. It typically means you are either unhappy with the job you currently have or you are lacking employment and are going through this process while also being concerned with your finances and all of the other stressors that come with being unemployed or underemployed. With so many concerns about resumes, cover letters, interviewing outfits, thank you note writing, and the rest, it’s amazing anyone is able to stay sane. But adding a hepatitis C diagnosis into this process can be even more stressful.

For some, the hepatitis C diagnosis came shortly after exposure to the virus. This may mean that little or no damage was done to the body and that the infection was acute (existing in the body for under 6 months). In this case, the stress is primarily rooted in the medical intervention process. For others, the hepatitis C diagnosis came after something else brought them to the doctor or when the symptoms of hepatitis C were obvious enough that a doctor’s visit became necessary.  In these cases of chronic hepatitis C (existing in the body for over 6 months), the symptoms may be visible to others.

Trying to Look Your Best When Feeling Your Worst

Often, a person experiencing symptoms of hepatitis C may appear to be bloated, exhausted, or with yellow-tinted skin and/or eyes. This can complicate the job search process when there is a fear of appearing ill or not feeling full of energy during an in-person or video interview. If this is true for you, it is important to speak with your doctor to find out about minimizing the symptoms in any way possible. Your doctor may also be able to give you some idea of when the symptoms are likely to resolve, based on your medical treatment plan, which can help you to know when to schedule interviews.

Regardless of the exposure and diagnostics process for someone with hepatitis C, the treatment experience can create additional concerns for someone who is undergoing treatment while job hunting. This is because the treatment process can take up significant time, requiring trips to doctor’s appointments and sometimes additional appointments with dieticians, lab testing, liver specialists, and others, depending on an individual’s experience with hepatitis C inside their body. It may be complicated to juggle these appointments with interview scheduling. Some may even prioritize their job hunt over their medical visits. It is important to follow the medical protocol provided and to attend all appointments and medical tests. This gives the individual the best possible chance to minimize medication side effects and to maximize the medication’s impact on the virus.

The side effects of hepatitis C medication vary. This is both because not every human body reacts the same to medication and because different strains of the virus (called genotypes) require different medications. When a person tests positive for hepatitis C, the doctor runs a test to determine the genotype and prescribes medication based on that. In addition, some people are instructed to change their diet to a more liver-healthy diet and some are encouraged to increase their level of exercise. The goal is to use the medication to remove the virus and to use diet and exercise to keep the body as healthy as possible through the process. It can be easy for a person on the go from interview to interview to neglect their health. Fast food can be quicker than going home for lunch while running between interviews and skipping meals sometimes seems easiest of all. It is important to maintain the nutrition schedule set up with your doctor, both because your body needs energy to fight the virus and because the body may also need those nutrients, carbohydrates, and fats to process the medication without causing side effects such as dizziness, upset stomach, constipation, or diarrhea, none of which work well with sitting in formal clothes in an interview chair. At the end of a long day of resume sending, interview attending, and reviewing cover letters, the idea of exercising can seem exhausting. However, it can help keep your body in its best virus-fighting shape, it can help combat the insomnia that some experience with medication, and it can be a great mental health break during the day. Whether the break is needed due to side effects like depression and anxiety or whether it is simply a way to allow your brain to focus on something else for a short while, exercise is too important to cut out, even when the interview process is intensive and feels all-consuming.

Overall, it is important to be mindful of your body’s needs while going through the hepatitis C treatment process. This provides you with the best foundation for going into interviews as strong as possible and it allows your body to be at its best during the treatment process.1-4

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. Foster, G. (1999). Hepatitis C virus infection: quality of life and side effects of treatment. Journal Of Hepatology, 31, 250-254.
  2. Groessl, E., Weingart, K., Kaplan, R., Clark, J., Gifford, A., & Ho, S. (2008). Living with Hepatitis C: Qualitative Interviews with Hepatitis C-infected Veterans. Journal Of General Internal Medicine, 23(12), 1959-1965.
  3. Kutala, B., Mourri, F., Boyer, N., Castelnau, C., Sitruk, V., & Giuily, N. et al. (2015). P0860 : The impact of interferon-free regimens on employment rate during treatment in patients with chronic hepatitis C. Journal Of Hepatology, 62, S662-S663.
  4. Mack, H. & Paylor, I. (2015). Employment Experiences of Those Living With and Being Treated For Hepatitis C: Seeking Reasonable Adjustments and the Role of Disability Legislation. Social Policy And Society, 15(04), 555-570.