Whether you tell or don’t tell people you have hepatitis C can be daunting. In most situations it is up to you to decide whether or not you disclose your status. There are only a few number of instances where you may be legally required to tell others you have hepatitis C. Hepatitis Australia has developed a useful resource that may help you when deciding who and when to tell called My Choice My Rights Hepatitis C (pdf).
When Do I legally have to disclose?
There are a few situations when you will be required by law to disclose your hepatitis C status. At present you are required by law to disclose your status if:
- You donate blood, it is illegal to knowingly donate blood if you are hepatitis C positive. All blood is screened by the blood bank.
- If you work in healthcare and you are required to perform exposure-prone procedures. If you don’t perform exposure-prone procedures you can get advice from your Union or Hep NSW on whether you need to disclose your status
- Some Insurance companies and superannuation funds can refuse to cover you or pay out a claim if you didn’t disclose your hepatitis status.
- If you want to join the defence force or are already a member of the defence force when you are diagnosed with hepatitis C. Your future employment may be dependent on your willingness to go on treatment and if you successfully clear hepatitis C
Is it legal to discriminate against me because I have Hepatitis C?
Under Australian anti discrimination laws, hepatitis C is considered a ‘disability’ or ‘impairment’. Sometimes discrimination is obvious; sometimes it is covert. You might feel you were not treated fairly, or your treatment didn’t ‘feel right’.
It is illegal to:
- Not employ someone because they are hepatitis C positive
- Refuse housing based on hepatitis c status
- Refuse medical or dental treatment because someone has hepatitis C
If you feel you have been discriminated against or want more information about disclosing your hepatitis C status check out Hepatitis Australia or for anti-discrimination information check out the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Where Can I find out More?
For more information check out Hep NSW.
For Legal support check out the HIV AIDS Legal Service.
Or Call NUAA on 8354 7300 or free call 1800 644 413.