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Hepatitis NSW dragon boat team makes a splash

Hepatitis NSW have entered a Dragon Boat team into celebrations for Chinese New Year in Sydney this weekend, to raise awareness about hepatitis B. This activity has been supported by a grant from Gilead Sciences Pty Ltd.

The Hepatitis NSW team aims to attract the Chinese community’s attention when they compete in the dragon boat races at the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival at Darling Harbour on Sunday 25th of February from 9am to 3:30pm.

The team of 24 paddlers are staff members and volunteers of Hepatitis NSW. They’re promoting hepatitis B awareness and Hepatitis NSW’s services in the Chinese community.

Hepatitis NSW is a not-for-profit charity that provides free information, education, advocacy, and counselling services for people who are living with viral hepatitis. The organisation runs a Hepatitis B Community Education Project, with Mandarin-language workshops and events held throughout the Sydney metropolitan area.

Hepatitis B is a liver inflammation caused by the hepatitis B virus. Without regular monitoring, hepatitis B can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. However, those who regularly monitor their condition with their doctors can live long and healthy lives.

In Australia, most people living with hepatitis B were born overseas, and contracted the virus from mother to baby at birth.

Statistics show that 6-8% of Chinese Australians are living with hep B.

“Hepatitis B testing and awareness raising are essential elements for healthy living in the Chinese Australian community. It is estimated that 38% of people living with hepatitis B in Australia have not been tested and do not know they need regular liver health checks,” said Hepatitis NSW CEO, Stuart Loveday.

“Hep B disproportionately affects the Chinese Australian community. Many people living with hep B are unaware of their illness and have never received monitoring and treatment.”

Mr Loveday also emphasised that there is no such thing as a “healthy carrier”. Some people living with hep B, who have not experienced liver damage, are incorrectly diagnosed as “healthy carriers” and informed that they do not require monitoring. Without regular monitoring of their condition, these individuals can unknowingly experience liver damage, which may progress to liver cancer.

The Darling Harbour festival is the biggest dragon boat event in the Southern Hemisphere, with over a thousand paddlers competing each year. Dragon boating is a traditional Chinese sport with over 2000 years’ history. Originating in Southern China, the sport was first developed as a tribute to poet Qu Yuan. These days, it is a fast-paced water sport that is competed on an international platform.

For more information, please contact:

Stuart Loveday, CEO

sloveday@hep.org.au

0410 488 144

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