Some factors, including symptom severity and the type of job you have, may raise concerns about employment with hepatitis C. In most cases, you do not need to disclose your diagnosis to your employer.

It can take anywhere from 8–24 weeks of antiviral therapy to treat and cure hepatitis C.

While current treatments have a high cure rate with few reported side effects, everyone’s experience with hepatitis C is different.

Still, hepatitis C itself poses few job restrictions, so your employer cannot legally fire you for having hep C.

There isn’t necessarily an obligation to tell others in your workplace about it, either. The only reason you’d need to is if your job involves any blood-to-blood contact.

Read on to learn more about employment with hepatitis C and what you should do if you experience any restrictions.

Hepatitis C may not cause any noticeable symptoms at first. But as the hepatitis C virus (HCV) leads to more liver inflammation over many years, you may experience the following:

  • appetite loss
  • bleeding and bruising
  • jaundice
  • leg swelling
  • dark urine
  • fluid retention, especially in your abdomen
  • excessive fatigue

HCV that leads to advanced cirrhosis can also cause unintentional weight loss, drowsiness, and confusion.

Some of these symptoms could interfere with your ability to work. This is especially true for symptoms that affect your energy and attention levels.

A person contracts HCV when blood containing the virus comes into contact with their blood.

Some healthcare workers may have an increased risk of contracting HCV when working with people with the virus. But doctors and nurses aren’t likely to transmit the virus due to standard precautionary measures that limit blood-to-blood contact in healthcare settings.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s no reason to exclude people with hepatitis C from any type of job.

This includes individuals who work with children, food, and other services. The only exception is if the job poses a risk of blood-to-blood contact.

There aren’t many jobs that pose the risk of blood-to-blood transmission. Because of this, you likely won’t need to disclose your condition to your employer.

An employer cannot legally fire you for having hepatitis C. However, depending on workplace laws in your state, an employer can terminate you if you are not able to perform your job.

If you expect that you’ll need to frequently go to your doctor or stay home due to your symptoms, you may want to talk with your human resources (HR) representative.

Depending on your medical needs, you may want to take some time off, whether on a part-time or temporary full-time basis.

At this point, you still do not have to disclose your condition to your employer or any of your co-workers.

Searching for a new job can be stressful for anyone, but it may feel even more stressful if you’re receiving treatment for hepatitis C.

You still do not need to disclose your condition when applying or interviewing for a new job.

Depending on the type of job you’re applying for, a potential employer may ask if you have any “physical limitations” that may interfere with your work.

If you feel your hep C symptoms could interfere in some way, you may need to disclose this information. However, you do not need to provide specifics about your hepatitis C diagnosis.

Even if you do not have to disclose your condition at your job, working can still be exhausting while you’re receiving treatment.

If you have chronic hepatitis C and your symptoms severely affect your ability to work, it may be worth exploring the possibility of disability benefits.

Social Security disability benefits may be an option if you’re no longer able to work.

People with acute hepatitis C don’t usually qualify because their symptoms eventually clear up, allowing them to get back to work sooner.

However, you may consider filing for disability as a precaution in case your condition changes and you need the benefits in the future.

You can apply for disability with the Social Security Administration (SSA) online or over the phone.

Working while receiving hepatitis C treatment may pose challenges in various ways. Your symptoms may interfere with your work, and you may worry about whether you can obtain or keep a job with your condition.

While your symptoms may affect your work, these effects are usually temporary until you finish treatment.

An employer also cannot legally discriminate based on any medical condition. Plus, you do not need to disclose your personal health information to anyone.

Talk with your HR representative about whether you have time off. This benefit can help protect you and your job. Get doctor’s notes so there’s written proof supporting any time spent going to medical appointments.

Most importantly, be sure to take care of yourself and follow your doctor’s treatment plan to help prevent further liver damage and complications.