Five tips about hep C cures for Country people (in regional NSW)

For many people in rural regions, hep C is tough news. Health care might be far away, and there is the feeling of less privacy in rural towns. Nurse Practitioners can screen, confirm, treat and cure HCV without the need for a Dr’s referral. Patients can self-refer or other health staff can refer a patient, for discussion and review at no cost.

1. Talking about hep C or past drug use to your family doctor or the town’s only GP is difficult.

Lots of people joke about the good old days of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll but find it really hard talking about hep C. The topic of drug use can raise red flags, and this stigmatizes hep C. Talking is even more difficult with the family doctor, who might be the town’s only GP.

A difficult conversation now might avoid a lot of pain down the track. Curing hep C will help you avoid the risk of liver failure or liver cancer.

You can book a consult with a local hepatitis outreach nurse. Treating hep C is their specialty and can be less confronting. Or book a phone consultation with a city GP, so it stays anonymous and not connected to town life.

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2. People might not want to confront their past life.

You might look back to your teens or 20s as rebellious and creative years – the time in life when you left home and broke free. This was a theme of a lot of music and pop culture back in the day.

Now, you probably have a different take on life and might have a different attitude to drugs. Hep C might be an uncomfortable reminder of past times.

Don’t let discomfort threaten your future. Curing hep C will help you avoid the risk of liver failure or liver cancer. Talk to a GP or community nurse about hep C cures.

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3. It is hard to discuss past drug use in a short consultation. GPs aren’t always aware of all the risk factors and may not know about testing or treatment.

Not all doctors know the same information about every illness and disease. Some doctors will feel uncomfortable talking about drug use and hep C, or may not know a lot about testing and treatment.

It can be good to shop around. Talk to a community nurse– they know all the ins and outs. They know free services, like getting PCR blood tests that confirm you still have hep C now, so need to be treated. They will help you deal with pathology labs who might ask you to pay before being tested. Ask the nurse about booking a telehealth consultation with a GP who knows about hep C from outside your region.

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4. Take action - contact your local liver nurse

Across NSW, you can contact local Liver Nurses who work from regional cities and outreach to smaller towns in the district so call the nurses below to see who may be able to help you.

Albury
Geoff Bartlett
0417 287 073
Armidale
Donna deRiviere
Batemans Bay / Eurobodalla
Kaija Talviharju
Bathurst
Katherine McQuillan
Bathurst
Danielle Wolthers
Broken Hill
Clinic 9
Coffs Harbour 
Alex
Dubbo
Laura Boundy
Gunnedah / Inverell 
Donna deRiviere
Lismore / Northern Rivers area
Krista Zohrab
Lower Hunter / Greater Newcastle
Suresh
Moree / Narrabri
Donna deRiviere
Orange
Lea Vitiello
Tamworth
Donna deRiviere

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5. Take action - phone the Hepatitis Infoline and chat about other options

  • Regional hospital liver clinic
  • Telehealth with a non-local GP
  • Telehealth with a city specialist/GP

Hepatitis Infoline1800 803 990 | open during office hours

Hepatitis Infoline live chat available every page of this website, www.hep.org.au

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(This factsheet was developed by regional NSW community nurses who have experience working with liver health and hep C cures)

This page last updated 15 December 2021

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