How to Care for a Loved One with Hep C

by Nirah Johnson Patient Expert

Living with hepatitis C can be challenging. Support can help your loved one through the tough times. Here is how you can help.


Be open minded and supportive

We often try to make sense of news right away, by forming an opinion or judgment. When hearing about your loved one’s experience: listen, reflect and be as emotionally supportive as possible. Simply saying, “I understand, I’m here for you, what can I do?” can be enough.

Using a laptop

Learn about Hep C

Hep C is a complex disease. Understanding care and treatment can be difficult. If you are well informed, you will be in ready to make the best health decisions together. Hep C is caused by a virus that is transmitted through blood. It can progress to liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. There is treatment and a cure for Hep C.

Couple eating breakfast

Be a Health Partner

Drinking alcohol and being over weight can make liver disease worse. Healthy living can prevent or even reverse liver damage. Eat healthy foods and exercise together. A partner in health can make healthy choices easier.

Couple visiting a doctor

Offer to go to medical visits and procedures

Hep C evaluation and treatment can involve frequent medical visits. Learning the results of tests and some medical procedures can be stressful. Having company on the trips, in the waiting room, and around medical visits can be comforting.

Distressed woman

Be realistic

Wishful thinking and denial are common ways to cope with stress. Your loved one may want to put off dealing with the Hep C diagnosis. Hep C can be “silent” for many years, even though the disease is progressing. It is common to develop symptoms and find that the liver is seriously damaged. It’s important to get into care and evaluate liver health regularly. Only medical treatment will cure Hep C.

Holding hands

Help find emotional support

If your loved one becomes emotionally overwhelmed, you may be able to help find appropriate support. There are many online or in-person support groups for people with Hep C. If you notice signs of anxiety or depression that get in the way of accomplishing daily activities, relationships or life goals encourage your loved one to get into mental health care with a therapist or medical provider.

Nirah Johnson
Meet Our Writer
Nirah Johnson

Nirah Johnson, LCSW, Director of Program Implementation & Capacity Building NYC Health Department, Viral Hepatitis Program serves as the lead organizer of the NYC Hep B Coalition and Hep C Task Force since 2007.