Whenever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves, after the first suffering, how we can turn it into good. So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers. ~ Leigh Hunt
Sadly, there is a stigma attached to hepatitis C. The dictionary Encarta, defines stigma as "a sign of social unacceptability: the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable." For a variety of reasons, some people think that having hepatitis C is unacceptable. Out of ignorance, some are afraid that hepatitis C will leap out and get them.
No matter how you look at it, stigma is wrong. Try as one might, it is difficult to change the way others see us. Rather than trying to change others, I have better luck examining my own thoughts, exploring whether I buy into hepatitis C's stigma.
Rather than accept the dictionary's first definition of stigma, I looked at the botanical definition. The stigma is the part of a plant where bees deposit pollen. The stigma bears the fragrant sweet solution that attracts bees. It is a place of fertilization. For those with hepatitis C, it may be the place where shame blossoms into hope.