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A man starting to ask many questions is silently interrupted by a woman handing him a pamphlet.

Dealing with Nosey People

The most awful part of hepatitis C is dealing with other people who do not understand what it is. At first, I did not understand either. I kept my diagnosis a closed-mouth subject. If people asked me what was wrong, I would write off as working too much, etc. 

Finding the courage to share my story

The more I learned about hep C, the transmission, the symptoms, side effects, and overall knowledge of it, I became more confident in speaking publicly about it. I told and wrote a story of putting my life story on my counter at work to bring more awareness about hepatitis C. I was scared to death to do it, but I was angry at the stigma and frustrated how those like myself were being treated for having hep c. I wanted to share with those who knew Kim that YES, I have hep C. Yes, I look normal. I look healthy and there is no black mark on my head to let people know I was infected.

Facing backlash

I faced criticism and humiliation for sharing my health situation. Worst of all, I was shunned and treated like I had the plague. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone treated me poorly. It was about a handful of several hundred customers that I got to see true colors from after sharing my ordeal. At first, I was upset at them for being so rude to me. But then I stepped back into their shoes and understood there is no information out there about hep C, what it is, etc.  So, of course, judgment will happen when people are ignorant to the facts. So, I continued to share my story regardless of their opinion, reaction etc. After several months, those who were rude became more educated as they read more of my story and pamphlets on hep C. They learned that they can’t catch it by shaking my hand or hugging me; Normal, every-day contact was not a threat.

You have choices when talking about your hep C

But, what does one do when a person in your circle is grilling you over and over about hep C, question after question, getting more and more personal about how you contracted it? Let me just say this… It’s no one’s business how anyone got hep C. It is up to you, personally, to decide how much you want to share. If you do not want to share that, don’t.  Just keep giving them the facts of how it is transmitted and leave it at that.  We can’t control other people’s reactions to us for having hep C, but we can control how we react and overcome such criticism. It does not matter how anyone contracted hep C, the bottom line is that WE ALL DESERVE the CURE!!

Stay strong and true to who you are. Hepatitis C is a condition not your defining outcome. Stay focused on the finish line!

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.