There are only 5 situations in which you are required by law to tell someone that you have hep C:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Men must disclose if they want to donate sperm (this is covered by the Human Tissue Act 1983).
In general at work you are under no obligation to inform employers, work colleagues, clients or customers that you are living with hep C.
The exception is if you are a healthcare worker who carries out exposure-prone procedures or you are working within the Australian Defence Forces.
Hep C is covered by anti-discrimination laws and for the purposes of these laws it is classified as a disability. Your employer has a legal responsibility to make modifications to accommodate your hep C (as long as these changes are reasonable). They may be able to change your position from full-time to part-time, adopt flexi-time arrangements, allow you to work from home or reduce the physical activity required within your job.
Of course, such changes wouldn’t be possible without you telling your employer that you are living with hep C.
It can be difficult to know if and when to tell people you have hep C.
For many people this is a big question at the start of a new relationship.
Due to misinformation and stigma some people may react negatively, but most people learn to accept it and are more concerned about what it means for your health in the long-term.
If you do decide to disclose to someone it can be useful to have booklets or brochures on hand which explain a bit about hep C, how it is transmitted and what it means for you.
Yes. Your organs can be donated to other people living with hep C. You need to register as an organ donor if you want to donate. Register here: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/australian-organ-donor-register
If you are living with hep C you should not be refused life insurance or other insurance products. You may have to pay higher annual premiums.
Superannuation funds usually provide default disability and death insurance cover, especially if your superannuation fund is employment related. Your medical history is not needed for this default level of cover but it is required if you want a higher level of cover or make a claim. It is not unlawful for superannuation funds to ask if you have viral hep or other infectious diseases, or whether you inject recreational drugs, if they are considering your application for insurance cover.
Any information you give about yourself and your health when applying for insurance cover (through your superannuation fund) must be kept confidential by your employer and superannuation provider.
They can talk to you about your rights and make referrals to organisations who may be able to help further.
The HIV/AIDS Legal Centre – HALC provide information and services to people whose legal issues are related to hep C.
This page was last updated 25 May 2016.