Treatment decisions: Family, friends and other important relationships
NOTE: Quotes are presented word for word apart from minor editing for readability and clarity. Identifying details have been removed. Square brackets show text that has been added or, where ellipses (three dots) appear, show that text has been removed. For example, ‘I had the nurses explaining to me, like, how easy it was […to have] treatment and I went to the [hospital liver clinic] and there was a doctor … can’t think of her last name, really nice lady […] Yeah, she explained everything to me and said it was a good time for me to do it now and, yeah, [I] just stuck with her and got that done.’
Among the people interviewed for this website, many explain that their family, friends and other personal relationships are important to them when making decisions about hepatitis C treatment. They describe these relationships as influencing their perspectives on and experiences of treatment (see also, Reflecting on experiences of treatment and cure).
The role of intimate partners is often spoken about too. The views and experiences reported here reflect that decisions about treatment are often discussed with partners (see also, Being diagnosed with hepatitis C) and that some people with hepatitis C worry about the impact of their status on their intimate relationships (see also, Dealing with stigma and discrimination).
Many emphasise the significance of friendships in their experiences of hepatitis C. Friends, for example, often help manage treatment or offer a supportive and understanding social network. Some also describe encouraging others in their social network to think about hepatitis C treatment.
Some of the participants with experiences of the old, interferon-based treatment speak about the impact of treatment side effects on their work responsibilities and relationships with colleagues, another issue shaping treatment decisions. They say that they often had to take a break from work or negotiate with their employers for a schedule that accommodated the effects of treatment. This was not a worry for those having the new treatment.
Overall, participants’ accounts here suggest that family, friends and a range of other personal relationships can be central to experiences of hepatitis C and decisions and arrangements around treatment.
Deciding to have hepatitis C treatment
Participants explain the different ways relationships with other people influence their decisions about hepatitis C treatment. They especially focus on the importance of family and friends in their lives. These experiences highlight how relationships with family members, friends and intimate partners are a significant consideration when thinking about treatment.