Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Some people who live with hepatitis C say that the biggest problem is not the disease; the overriding concern is the sense of feeling infectious. Invisible, pervasive, and hideous, this feeling that we can infect others can be an incredible burden. Preoccupation with this potential to hurt another human being may lead to isolation.

Society reinforces this isolation. Some people are ignorant of how to prevent HCV transmission. Patients report stories of friends and family who will not let them in to their homes. Hugs and kisses cease. Sexual relationships stop or are never initiated. In the extreme cases, marriages are challenged. It is tragic to witness this unnecessary and avoidable ostracism.

Having a potentially infectious disease carries with it the weight of responsibility. Simply stated, when at all possible, we need to take reasonable steps to prevent the further transmission of HCV. In my experience, HCV patients take this responsibility quite seriously, sometimes to the point of extreme vigilance.

The trick is learning how to protect others without sacrificing personal well-being. Fortunately, it is not too difficult. Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that is well controlled with simple measures. After educating yourself about HCV transmission, claim only the responsibility that is rightfully yours, and let go of the rest. 

To learn more about hepatitis C transmission, visit Hepatitis C: The Basics