There is stigma, a strange perception with Hepatitis C, it’s more than just a lack of knowledge on transference and what it can do. Like any invisible disability, you don’t see it, so you can’t tell if someone has it.
I have felt the leer of judgment and fear more in my life than I would ever prefer any human being should, one comes prior to finding out, and assuming that i'm faking my disability, the other comes after they find out, trying to keep their distance. That illusion is like a tribble, at first it's unsuspecting, but feed it something, in this case fear, and it multiplies so fast it eats all the grain in the starship. if you're lucky that grain will be poisoned and you'll find a Klingon spy.
The passersby, use their eyes and believe me able
Because I’m “well adjusted”, beside them at the table.
When I fall short of what they've grown to expect
Instead of empathy, I lose their respect.
A melody of misplaced malice and malcontent
Fuels the silent rage born from the ignorant
Unkind words burn and fly at my direction,
Born this way, I say as if I had some election
The truth comes out and builds up walls of fear
Justifications, “just if” occasions were all they want to hear
A temporary respite they’d rather me be worthless
Keep indulging their self glory with their dejected righteous bliss
But now they’re on the defense for reasons here twofold
Grew up this way, it’s not their fault, just doing as they’re told
Some drop the wall of shame, and embrace that fear laid wall
Embrace humility, and ask me once, “is that all?”
Not making light, they’ll reach to share the pain
Understanding builds us up and friendship is our gain
Others aren’t so lucky they’ll live life so jaded
They treat me fine, and subtly remind that I’m tolerated
Just if I were cured, well then they’d treat me right.
Just a shame they say I had to see them in this light.
Their true persona weak, in need of love and charity
I pray they find it soon, but they won’t find it from me.
The key to respecting people with invisible disabilities is really pretty simple. Treat everyone with the respect they deserve, regardless of how they appear. My last line of the poem does paint a slight modification to that idea though.
If they’re a shallow, self righteous douche bag who treats other people like sacks of shit, whom you’ve had open communication with to attempt to resolve the manner in which they conduct themselves and their head is just too far up their own ass, well… just never associate with them they're probably a Klingon spy anyway.