May 15, 2013
Deciding whether or not to tell your boss you have Hepatitis C is a multifaceted issue that requires education, planning and support.
Sharing your Hepatitis C status with employers or coworkers can be riddled with complexity. Whether interviewing for a new job, changing health insurance plans, being recently diagnosed or about to begin antiviral therapy, there are many factors to consider before disclosing that you have chronic Hepatitis C. There are no hard and fast rules for how to handle this topic, especially since each individual’s health and employment situation are unique. Knowing where the law lies and reviewing some of the issues involved are helpful when navigating the challenge of Hepatitis C disclosure at work.
The stigma associated with Hepatitis C infection represents the biggest barrier to disclosing having this viral illness. More specifically, the hardest stigma to confront relates to the assumption that this infection is due to injection drug use. This could – or could not – be the source of your infection, as there are countless ways Hepatitis C is spread. Regardless of how you acquired Hepatitis C, our society lacks compassion and understanding about injection drug use:
- Those who never used injection drugs do not want to be associated with it.
- Former injection drug users may feel haunted by their past and want to forget it.
- Active injection drug users carry the burden of having two stigmatized diseases – addiction and Hepatitis C.