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Young Adults: 16-25 years of age

The late teens and first years of adulthood are exciting and, maybe, a bit nerve-wracking. It’s a time of transition – from getting ready for university and living on your own to getting a ‘real’ job and starting a relationship. And through all of this, managing your hemophilia.

Being more in charge

If you’re moving away from home, you’ll soon get used to a new set of responsibilities, like buying groceries (and cooking!), doing laundry, and paying bills. Along with these ‘grown up’ chores, come new responsibilities in managing your treatment and your health. This includes:

  • Communicating directly with your team at the HTC
  • Making and attending appointments
  • Ordering factor treatment, if you’re on it
  • Documenting and submitting treatment logs

As you get used to being on your own, you’ll start to find your groove and these things will become easier. In these early days, don’t hesitate to reach out to your parents for support, guidance and a pep-talk or two. And remember, to always keep your emergency contacts stored into your cellphone. If you don't already wear one, consider a MedicAlert bracelet to notify others of your condition in case you are unable to.

Your relationship with your parents/guardians

Your relationship with your parents/guardians is probably starting to change: they will need to start stepping back and letting you make your own decisions. Keep in mind that this can be difficult for them. They may be adapting to a sense of loss as they let you go off on your own. It’s natural for them to worry and check in often, which you may interpret as them ‘interfering.’ Try to be patient with them. They probably just need time to see that you can manage everything on your own – laundry, cooking, school and your health.

Choosing your career

What do I want to do with my life? That’s probably a question you’re asking yourself right about now – or at least thinking about. Most careers are totally fine for people living with hemophilia, and you have many paths to choose from. But there are a few jobs that may not be ideal because of a high risk of injury. Other jobs may be risky because they take you far away from where treatment is readily available, like if they require travel to remote destinations. Don’t let this deter you from setting off on your career path. Think about what you enjoy, what you could see yourself doing for a long time, and any potential risks of that path.

Relationships and sexuality

You’ve met a great girl or guy – or new friends – and things are going well. Do I need to tell him or her about my hemophilia? How will they react? When is a good time, and how do I start the conversation? It’s your choice who you tell and when. To help you decide who to confide in, think about:

  • Put yourself in their shoes—would you want to know if you were them?
  • Is it a friend you see during sports activities where your condition could come up?
  • If you’re dating someone, could it be something long-term?
  • Do you think it would really change the way they view you?
  • Are you prepared to answer their questions about your condition?
  • Because the hemophilia gene can be passed on to your children, how might this affect your relationship or your sex life? Learn more about things to consider when starting a family

There are no easy answers. Disclosing your hemophilia to those close to you can be very hard. Many people aren’t informed about the disease: it may be as simple as educating them and dispelling myths.

If you need someone else to talk to about some of these issues, consider talking to someone else living with hemophilia who may have gone through the same issues. If you know any peers through the Canadian Hemophilia Society, reach out to them – or contact the organization to help you find someone to talk to.

FAQs: Young Adults

Still looking for answers?

View FAQs about hemophilia relevant to young adults

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