If you’re planning totell someone that you have hep C then it’s a helpful to ask yourself ‘What am I going to get out of telling this person that I have hep C?’
One of the main benefits of telling people like family and friends is that they can offer you help and support when you need it. Living with hep C can mean that people feel that they are alone, so having important people in your life who you trust to talk about hep C with can be very important.
It is also important to remember that people may not react the way you want them to when you first tell them you have hep C. This is usually because the person you tell does not know much about hep C. Some people may react negatively because of the association between hep C and injecting drug use and their ideas about people who inject drugs.
Knowing about hep C yourself and being able to give people accurate information can be very helpful.
You may want to try practicing telling someone you have hep C, either by yourself or with a friend who already knows, or with a counsellor or the Hepatitis Infoline 1800 803 990. Whichever of these you choose, it’s a good idea to be prepared for questions, including ‘how did you get hep C?’
Do I have to tell anyone I have hep C?
There are only 6 situations in which you are required to tell someone that you have hep C:
1. If you donate blood to the Blood Bank.
If you have or have ever had hep C your blood will not be accepted. This is the case even if you have cleared hep C naturally or if you have taken hep C treatment and cleared the virus.
2. If you are a healthcare worker in NSW and carry out exposure-prone procedures.
An exposure-prone procedure is one in which you put your hands inside someone’s body and cannot clearly see your hands – for example during surgery.
Click here to see related NSW Health policy guidelines.
3. Some insurance policies (particularly life insurance) will ask you about infections, disabilities or illnesses.
Telling an insurance company that you are living with hep C does not mean you cannot get insurance, but it may mean that you pay a higher rate.
4. If you apply to join the Australian Defence Force (Navy, Army, Air Force) and you have hep C you will have to disclose that you have hep C and you will not be able to join.
If you have had hep C in the past but don’t any longer then you can join the Australian Defence Force but will be required to show evidence that you are no longer living with hep C.
5. Men must disclose if they want to donate sperm (this is covered by the Human Tissue Act 1983).
6. If you are in competition boxing or martial arts.
This page was last updated 23 May 2016.