The period following a hepatitis C diagnosis can be stressful, emotional and confusing. You may feel a wide range of emotions, such as fear, anger, depression, worry and grief. If you were feeling well at the time of your diagnosis, the news can be especially shocking. Suddenly, the future feels uncertain, and life seems fragile.

Questions may pop up: How did I get hep C? How long have I had it? Is hep C a serious problem? Can it be treated? Will I need a liver transplant? Will I die from it? How much time do I have? Is hep C contagious? Can I give it to my family or friends? Will I be able to take care of my family? Do I have to stop having sex? Will I be alone for the rest of my life?

In time, your feelings will calm down, your questions will be answered, and the weight of the hep C diagnosis won’t feel as heavy. Here are some tips to help you deal with your diagnosis.

Talk to your doctor. Ask questions. Write everything down, including the questions you want to ask, and your doctor or nurse’s response to your questions. Prioritize your questions, asking what you most want to know first.

Gather information. This section of HepMag.com is a good place to start. Information can be both frightening and comforting. Confirm everything you read with your doctor or nurse.

Find support. Consider joining a hep C support group. There are many to choose from, such as the Hep Forums. It helps to talk to others who have hep C, learning how they dealt with it. The mark of a good support group is that in time, you ought to feel empowered and less frightened.

Remember that hepatitis C is treatable. New hep C treatments are curing nearly everyone with hepatitis C.

Try looking at this as a wake-up call. This is an opportunity to evaluate health habits and perhaps make some changes. For suggestions, check out the Living Healthy with Hepatitis C section.

One thing is for certain—you are not alone. Millions of people in the U.S. and the world have hep C. The majority don’t know they have it, and the fact that you have been diagnosed means you are ahead of the game.

Last Reviewed: February 20, 2018