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What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Hepatitis C

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Hepatitis C

People mean well. Family and friends may try to encourage us when they hear we have the Hepatitis C Virus. Many do not understand that we have had it for years. They say things that flat out don’t make sense. Even doctors sometimes say things that make you want to back out of the room and run like crazy. I have heard people make the most ridiculous statements. You might have heard some of these as well.

“It’s not that big of a deal. I hear that it is easy to cure nowadays.” While the new medications do make it easier to cure, it IS a big deal to have to live with the diagnosis… and it is a huge deal to go through treatment for Hepatitis C.

“Are you sure you have it? You don’t look sick.” This one is flattering, but it makes me mad. Just because our liver has not failed yet does not mean we don’t feel bad. The virus is attacking our liver 24/7 and we feel it with a low energy level and brain fog.

“It’s contagious. Maybe you shouldn’t be around us for a while.” This is the worst thing to say. The virus is blood borne and is not transmitted simply by being around people.

“My friend had it and took these herbs….” Uh oh. Sorry, but there is no herb that can kill the virus. Once it begins to replicate in the liver, it does not go away with healthy eating. Vitamins, supplements, and herbs can be part of a liver loving lifestyle for sure. Find out which ones are safe and use them along with a medical treatment for HCV.

“If you would quit sleeping all the time it might help.” No one understands the lethargy we feel when a virus is raging through our body. We try to prop ourselves up with caffeine and other stimulants like cigarettes or sugar. We just don’t feel good and our sleep pattern is out of whack. We sleep because we can’t always stay awake.

“The side effects of treatment can kill you.” I heard this from many of my friends. I took the first round of the new 48 week therapy and was terrified. I survived the side effects but it was rough. My doctors kept my anemia and other blood levels good. I used every trick in the book for hair loss, itching, and other side effects. The new meds have even fewer side effects. It is doable … NOT life threatening.

“Now that you are cured, it is over.” It is true that the virus is gone after you get Sustained Viral Response (SVR). A cure is easy to achieve now. However, the effects may linger if you have advanced liver disease. It can take several months for the mental and physical side effects to go away. Some of them may be with you for a while.

When confronted with statements that fill you with fear or anger, don’t try and defend your position. If you are able to help educate others, do that by all means. There is a lot of misinformation about Hepatitis C. You can help to spread the truth by sharing your experience openly and honestly.

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.