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Hepatitis C Community
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408795 tn?1324939275

The truth about having HepC?

I've been wondering about how the "normal" or "regular", public feels about people infected with HepC.  It seems to me to have been shoved in some corner somewhere, like out of sight, out of mind.  I have a very good civil service position and I work with people in the medical field, also unfortunately for me I used IV drugs in my past so I have only mentioned it one time when I was working for a different Dept., back in 2003 when I became "toxic", and I needed badly to justify my absences.  I don't ever mention the fact that I am HepC positive to anyone at work, and I don't think I ever will.  Have any of you on this forum ever had to break your secret health issue, well secret to me?  Also, since some people think that it's a drug addicts virus have you personally had to put up with any prejudice?  
God Bless    
48 Responses
Avatar universal
I have never mentioned my illness to anyone at work as well.  Only my immediate family knows and I intend on keeping it that way for now.  There is a stigma attached to having this disease regardless of how we contracted it.  In general, the public is not as educated about hepc as those of us on this forum, therfore, initial reactions tend to be judgemental due to lack of knowledge.   My mother, God rest her soul, gave me gave me a wonderful piece of advise which was -if you don't want people to know your business-don't tell them.  This applies very well to my current situation.  I have come to realize that the bottom line is it doesn't matter how the disease was contracted.  I have read many posts from those who are in total shock when they find out they are hepc positive and lament on how and why.  I was one of those people at first but one day it just dawned on me it doesn't really matter how or why.  What really mattered was how am I going to irradicate this from my body.   In order to tx with a positive attitude it was important for me to get through the hurdles and personally I don't wish to put the prejudice hurdle out there as well.  I am quite sure there are many many very understanding people in our work places who will give the support needed.  I think my work place would be one of those.  However, at this point I feel more comfortable keeping my business to myself.  I am early into tx, and there may come a time when I look and act like a zombie and in all fairness to my company will have to be up front with them and I don't have a problem with that.  I think it's more or less and personal decision and we can't change public reactions regardless of the facts.  Those are my thoughts.
Take good care
Trinity
190885 tn?1333029491
i know the folks up here don't have a clue about hep c..but i didn't either untill my x got it back like 7 years ago...and still she kept it quiet..when i found out i had it i let people know...that was stupid...no one gets it....most think you got it shooting dope....it has  hurt my work..some people just don't want you in their houses....their so afraid of it...i was so sick and looked real bad for a while (like a year and a half) so i thought why or how do i hide it...i've got a big house to build up here and i'll see if that leads on to more..if not i'm going to move south for most of the year and won't tell many people about it.....and the shooting dope thing is a drag...who cares how you got it...they do.....billy
Avatar universal
Considering how many people have Hep C in the US Vs how many people have AIDS in the US I've always been curious as to why HEP C does not get more attention.

http://www.metrokc.gov/health/prevcont/hepcfactsheet.htm
"...It is estimated that about 1.8% of the population (about 4 million people in the U.S) have evidence of current or past infection with hepatitis C virus. It is the leading cause for liver transplants and causes about 8,000 – 10,000 deaths each year in the U.S..."

http://www.avert.org/statsum.htm
"...At the end of 2006, the CDC estimates that 448,871 people were living with AIDS in the USA..."

And I agree that there is a stigma attached to HEP C.
I'm pretty sure that I contracted it in my teens when a bunch of us gave ourselves DIY tattoos with indian ink and a needle wrapped with thread. But as far as the public perception is concerned I must have been a junkie.
I think at some point there will be efforts made by someone in the celebrity community to raise awareness.
Perhaps then it will become a "politically correct" social cause and the stigma will be lifted.
Sort of what Magic Johnson did for AIDS.

Let's hope for th best.
Avatar universal
iam the same way my job doesnt know my condition all they know is iam on some sort of chemo for my liver, its confidentail to me.. but all my family knows and is supportive of it.. they are okay and i had to educate them and get brochures for them.. My uncle back at home has had it since he was about 24 and he is 86 now and has relapsed and relapsed and healthier then a lark.. walks track and jogs track.. he is awesome inspiration to me.. so we can live fully.. just change living habits and do what the dr orders.
350279 tn?1208017145
I haven't been able to work for sometime now. But my last job was at a City, as a buyer. We were kind of "urged" to be blood donor's during blood drives.
I could only say that "I don't like the needles" for so long. I finally told my boss that Due to exposure in Vietnam, my liver is not healthy and my blood would not be accepted. That was the last I was urged to donate.
But NO one needs to know your business at your work place. It could come back to bite you!
Avatar universal
unlike most people I told everyone. I had two jobs at the time I found out, The first a bar manager at a golf course, was kind of put off and suggested that I leave until "cured:" but the second job in the medical field, cleaning and calibrating pipettes (a medical research tool) had no problem with it. Since I scheduled all of our appointments to go thier labs, I just worked around the days I felt bad. When I reached SRV status I moved to Tenn. I was working as a manager at a busy hotel when I find out I had relapsed and had to do tx again. They had a lot of questions about it (except how I contracted HCV) and worked with me throughout tx.

I found alot of people who were ignorant to what HCV is, so how better to learn than from someone who has the disease, and boy oh boy did I teach alot of people about it. lol
I never really felt like an outcast because I wouldn't let anyone treat me like one. Even though I got it from a blood transfusion I felt that noone needed to know how I got it they just needed to feel safe and needed to be more informed.

This approach maynot be the right one for everyone but it worked for me. I have met quite a few people that either have it or know someone who does and has a ton of questions that they start asking as soon as they find out I had it and treated and beat it

Good luck to you..do what you think is best for you
Kim
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