Most of the time it is your choice whether you tell someone that you have hepatitis. This page can help you talk to the people you decide to tell. This might be:

  • friends
  • family
  • employers
  • place of study
  • healthcare workers.

 You can also read the page about who you have to tell.

Telling friends and family

Partners, families and friends can support you if you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C.  You may want to tell them that you have hepatitis, but don’t know how to. Or you may worry about how they will react.

Your friends and family might support you when you tell them. But, they may also not know much about hepatitis. This means they could be scared or upset when you tell them. They may have heard myths about the viruses. This is why it's a good idea to come prepared when you tell someone you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C. Some ways that you can do this are:

  • Make sure you know the basics about hepatitis B or hepatitis C so you can answer some of the more common questions.
  • Call the National Hepatitis Infoline (1800 437 222) first. Hepatitis organisations can give you advice and answer any questions you may have.
  • Practise what you are going to say. It is normal to feel nervous about telling someone, and this can make it hard to say what you want.
  • Find a place and time where you can talk alone. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time.
  • Ask them not to tell others that you have hepatitis.
  • Bring materials with you to help you answer any questions they have. You may want to bring the number for the Hepatitis Infoline (1800 437 222). This is so they can talk to someone else and find out more.

 You can also read this page on Hepatitis B and relationships.

Telling your boss or place of study

You do not usually have to tell your boss that you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C. You also don't have to tell the place where you study. This includes in health checks you might fill out before you start a job. Sometimes you do have to tell people.  This might be because you are a member of the Australian Defence Force or a healthcare worker carrying out exposure-prone procedures.

Sometimes you might want to tell your boss or place of study that you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C. This might be if your health affects your work. They can't tell others unless you say it's okay.

Sometimes you might need your boss or place of study to make changes. This could be changes to your working hours. We call this "reasonable adjustments". This is so you can work or study better. You will most likely need to provide a medical certificate. But you do not have to tell your boss what your condition is. You can ask your doctor not to write the details on your medical certificate.

Find out more about reasonable adjustments in this guide to the Disability Discrimination Act.

For some jobs such as health care, you may need a hepatitis B vaccine. You don't need to get the vaccine if you have hepatitis B or have had it before. If you have hepatitis B, you can ask your doctor for a letter. This letter says that you are not at risk of getting hepatitis B while you are at work. This means you don't have to tell your boss that you have hepatitis B. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are not likely to be infectious in the context or type of work you perform in health care.

Telling healthcare workers

You do not have to tell healthcare workers, including dentists, that you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C. This is because they have strict rules they must follow to protect them against viruses that spread through the blood. These rules don’t change if they are treating someone with hepatitis B or C.

Sometimes it is useful to tell a healthcare worker that you have hepatitis B or C. This means they can:

  • check your liver
  • help you find the right medicine
  • refer you to counselling if it is affecting your mental health
  • make sure any medicine the prescribe you doesn't interact with medicines you might be taking for hepatitis B or hepatitis C

The Hepatitis Infoline can help you find a doctor that has experience with hepatitis B or hepatitis C. You can call them on 1800 437 222.

Most of the time healthcare worker cannot tell others that you have hepatitis B or hepatitis C unless you say it’s okay. You can also find out more about Confidentiality.

Page updated 10 November 2022