Expert Interview: Treatment Experiences, Talking about Hep C, and Getting Cured

Last updated: February 2020

The hepatitis C journey is different for EVERYONE. While some patients know how they contracted hep C, others don't. While some experience many side effects of hepatitis C or its treatment, some patients have none. Today, we asked Daniel, a advocate, to share his experiences with symptoms, side effects, and treatment - plus his tips for talking about hepatitis C.

After treatment, how long did it take for you to feel "normal" again?

I never was very sick, so the transition from extreme illness to “normal” did not apply to me.

If someone is nervous or afraid to start treatment, what would you tell them?

I felt no serious side effects, but the most difficult challenge might be the cost. If one has the resources or insurance to pay for treatment (or can find help through a support program), I can’t think of a reason not to start treatments.For me, I have no detectable traces of hep C, and that has eliminated the worry and stress that was ever-present prior to the treatment. It's also important to know that the medicine is taken orally, and it was 1 pill a day which is very easy and painless. It didn’t interfere with my work, travel, or personal life.What are your tips for talking to your family & friends about a hep C diagnosis?In my experience, part of this dilemma depends on how one contracted hep C and how much you want to share about your past. For some people, this stigma may be the most significant obstacle to an honest conversation! Fortunately, today this discussion may not be as hard as it would have been 10 year ago, since today we have more successful treatments. Thus, the conversations about hep C can also be more optimistic than in the past.When talking about hep C, preface the conservation with how important their support is to you, and be honest with them about your fears and trepidations. Assure them that you are not asking for funds to pay for treatment (unless of course you are).Generally, family and friends will lack any real knowledge about hep C and often their first assumption is that you will die. It may be helpful to explain what the diagnosis really means, treatments available, survival rates, etc. This information may clear some of the darkness and ignorance around a hep C diagnosis.

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