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Just diagnosed?

Dealing with the news that you have just been diagnosed with hepatitis C is a difficult experience for everyone. First and foremost, it is best to try and remain calm. At first you may feel shell-shocked, angry, confused, or frightened, and this is totally understandable. You should keep in mind that a HCV diagnosis will allow you to begin looking at the options for addressing it and at the different ways you can start caring for yourself.

Being diagnosed with hepatitis C is not a death sentence. There are many things you can do to ease the situation, to slow down disease progression and even clear the virus through treatment.

One in five people exposed to hepatitis C will naturally clear the virus[1]. Others may be able to clear it through treatment. Either way it is possible to become virus-free. Unlike HIV, having hepatitis C does not necessarily mean you will have it forever

What should I do now?

Perhaps one of the first things to do is let the news sink in. How long this takes will vary from person to person. First of all you will need to get used to the idea. After that, and only then, can you start to make rational decisions about how you wish to deal with the virus.

You may find it useful to talk to whoever it was that first diagnosed you. You may also find it particularly helpful to speak to someone who either has or has had hepatitis C. Speaking to someone who has been in the same boat can be hugely beneficial. It can really help you to get some perspective and gain a better understanding of what having hepatitis C is actually like.

Our helpline is staffed by patients who have experience with the virus, they can be reached on 0845 223 4424 or 020 7089 6221 (10.30am to 4.30pm Mon to Fri). Alternatively you may email us at helpline@hepctrust.org.uk and we will be able to answer any questions you may have and help relieve some of your fears. For more information on the options available, you can also take a look at our section marked 'Support'.


[1] http://www.cks.nhs.uk/patient_information_leaflet/hepatitis_c - accessed 30.03.2011