It’s understandable that when a new relationship begins, a person with chronic Hep B (CHBV) would prefer to thread carefully about if/when they should tell their partner that they are a carrier. In my case it took 5 months in to the relationship before I was told. I discovered and joined this forum to learn more about the condition.
My partner didn’t want to talk about it after he’d told me so he would encourage me to google instead if I had any questions. I understand it’s probably been traumatic for him dealing with this since his 20’s. Everywhere you go there’s discrimination - the psychological impact of this takes it’s tole so some people find it easier to stay quiet in new relationships. My view may be misguided, but I genuinely think almost everyone would be willing to accept whatever condition a partner is dealing with and support them. Some people would walk away (I wouldn’t label them as cruel - it’s their choice). But majority of people I know in Western )I emphasise Western) will more like work together in the journey and support when needed. But what I’ve struggled to reconcile and accept later on, is that it took over 5months before I found out. Nothing would have changed except I’d get a test to determine my own immune level and consider vaccine earlier. But I feel hurt that the decision whether or not to inform a new partner, is based entirely on the carrier’s decision if they want to or feel comfortable enough to or not. In that period, others become exposed unknowingly and it is accepted that there’s nothing we can do about it but remain supportive for the person who’s dealing with HepB.
My partner has been very happy since he told me because he said things have been much better since he got it off his chest. Our relationship grew much closer, in part because I made some lifestyle choices in our health regimen to support him in stabilising the viral load. I also encouraged regular testing going forward, something he was reluctant to do but he has somewhat agreed to do it once a year for himself. The problem I have is that I later started feeling resentful. But there is no avenue or tolerance for me to share this anywhere because it’s seen as selfish. I grew resentful that for over 5months, I was exposed to something that I had no idea about. There is no expectation that people should feel obliged to reveal their medical status to anybody, even in a relationship. It’s down to a moral expectation of the carrier and it’s ultimately their decision what they choose to share. I’m trying not to let this resentment grow because I care for him so much already and I would like us to build a lasting future together. I’ve tried to gently bring up this topic in a sensitive way so he doesn’t feel bad but it was shut down because he walked out the room. If I mention it again, he will likely feel like I’m discriminating and that’s not my intention. So I’ve come here to express myself online. I hope that this will help me let go of that underlying resentment. I just feel hurt that my partner (or any person for that matter) would choose to keep this a secret because they felt uncomfortable.
Mine would be to focus more on what can be done now, the past is unchangable. I guess both of you have changed since you first met and it might be best to communicate about how you’ve come to this point in your relationship.
It might also be worth mentioning to your partner that there is a supportive community here that he can access anonymously, if he wishes.
Dear @Filipa_Texas ,
I completely understand your situation. It was a similar situation with my wife and me 12 years ago. I did not tell her I was hep B positive when we just started dating. Why would I and why should I? It did not make sense to tell someone you just knew for a short time your deepest secret. You never know who that person is and how she/he would respond until you know who you are dealing with. One can never truly feel the pain hep B brings unless one is hep B positive. It is like one would not wear a shirt with a hep B positive symbol on it. This would simply deter people away from you. But, I was super cautious about possibly infecting her and always wearing condoms during sex. I even refused to kiss her when she or I had a mound in our mouths just in case of any transmission. A few months later, I decided that she would be the one that I was going to love for the rest of my life and told her my secret. At first, she was shocked. However, she accepted me anyway. We have been together ever since and have a healthy daughter. Revealing his secret to you means he is now truly open to you! He does not feel he needs to hide anything from you anymore.
@Filipa_Texas , I can undsrstand your concerns at the moment. I was in a somewhat similar situation in 2017 when I was courting my wife (Fianceé then). The day i discovered i was posititve, i was thrown into shock and dispair. What firstncame to my mind way that a life together with my love or anybody else wasn’t going to be possible anymore on account of my hep B status. It was anwhole lot to deal with truly and I’m sure your husband went through all that. I had to find my voice and told my Fianceé anyways as I had prepared for the worst. But luckily, she stuck on and today we are happily married. She’s well vaccinated.
Finding the voice to speak out is not very easy but it’s a good thing he’s finally found his to tell you. Yes, I know it came late and you had to go through all that risk unknowingly but please, look at the besutiful future you too have ahead and don’t stop supporting him. As @ThomasTu said, you could refer him to thos platform to learn a lot and help him understand his’s not alone. We are many. I wish you all the best.
@Filipa_Texas … I can relate to your frustrations. My husband was recently diagnosed with hepB. I got tested and I am negative. He found out when we went to the ER for severe abdominal pain and they told him about unusual blood work relating to his liver. He was tested and well, then I got tested.
I was shocked at first, and then angry. When I tested negative I was very relieved. And angrier… The more I read about this, the more questions I had for him. He isn’t a drug user, he doesn’t work in a setting that would expose him to blood, and that only leaves one other thing…he cheated. I was crushed.
But, because he was so sick and declining quickly, I pushed my feelings aside and focused on learning everything I could to help him.
I’m still angry and I am very upset and hurt. He doesn’t talk about it. He hasn’t admitted anything. He just says he doesn’t know how it happened…
I can totally understand your frustrations and the feelings of hurt. I believe communication is key. You have to find the right time to talk about what you are feeling or the resentment will just build.
It’s a pretty safe bet in my husbands case that he contracted it in mid August of this year. Anything before that and I would have gotten it? I still say communication is key. Unanswered questions just lead to more and more and that just makes it harder for couples dealing with this?
Thank you again for sharing your story here on the other side of the good news with the blood results. Just to provide some facts here, the incubation period of Hepatitis B (i.e. time between exposure and obvious symptoms) can be up to 9 months.
Also, just because your husband has detectable virus, doesn’t mean he is going to definitely expose you to it. There are many instances described on this forum where a person finds out they are HBV-positive (possibly since birth) but their partner remains negative.
How I wish even men will be so understanding as women are. So far have read of three ladies who still accepted their partners nonetheless.
People like us with HBV and not married, I’m still pondering on whether to even get into a relationship or not? Will I meet someone who will accept me regardless? Considering how women are viewed in Africa ? Honestly no one can call for such illness on them.
Thanks @ThomasTu , this platform is so vital to us. My prayer is one day, a permanent solution for this is found really.
@Vera , live is a beautiful thing and when you truly find one, nothing will matter. I understand how difficult it can be for another person to accept one’s medical condition. You are not far from the truth if you say women have a better proclivity to accept their partners than men do, especially in Africa I should say. In my practice as a community Pharmacist, I’ve had to counsel several guys who were preparing to marry their love but found out they were Hep B positive. Tgankfully, they met me and what would have been a breakup ended in glorious marriages.
I think people living with hepB need to seek for more knowledge, be confident and speak up more to educate others. The hepbcommunity.org is bridging this gab.
As for your concern on whether to get into a relationship, i’d say, it’s better than not givinh it a trial. You’ll never know who will stick through thick and thin. I’m sure you will find one and you will be surely happy.
@Vera, being hepatitis B doesn’t mean your offsprings must be positive too. There are a few steps to take to prevent mother-to-child transmission.
Just ensure you monitor your viral load while pregnant and ensure your child is given the birth dose hepatitis B vaccine within 24hrs of birth. Then follow-up with the other 3doses at 6,10 and 14weeks, depending on your countries schedule.
But very importantly, your child child must receive the birth dose not later than 24hrs. If immunoglobulin is available, the child can also have that plus the birth dose vaccine.
Prince O Okinedo
Hepatitis B Advocacy Initiative
@Vera, on the concern of whether you can pass on the virus to your partner. You can protect your partner to by having him screen and if negative, get the complete doses of the vaccine. With this, the chances of passing the virus is very very slim. I’ve been married for three years now and my wife has remained negative. She knew of my status before our marriage and I ensured she got the complete doses of the hep B vaccine.
All Persons living with viral hepatitis B have a responsibility to protect our partners. It’s a way of showing love.
Indeed it is away of showing love and building trust which is key to a successful marriage. Those who truly love you will stay with you regardless. When I meet 1, I’ll ensure to tell him so he can decide.