hep C Archives | Hepatitis NSW

Australia’s Biggest Quiz… be part of this record making event!

Australia’s Biggest Quiz… be part of this record making event!

Australia’s Biggest Quiz… be part of this record making event!Be a part of something special – Australia’s Biggest Quiz! Sign up, create a team with your family, friends and colleagues to help set a new Guinness World Record.

Hepatitis NSW is excited and thrilled to support Hepatitis Australia’s record-breaking attempt – Australia’s Biggest Quiz -which will be held across the country on Wednesday October 26 from 7.00pm AEST.

The quiz is a massive Australian community event to raise awareness of hep C and the availability of an effective and accessible cure. Hepatitis Australia’s innovative and fun initiative aims to find and cure 50,000 people of the virus by 2023. The quiz will spread the word to help towards that goal. Australia could be the first country in the world to eliminate hep C and you could be a part of this historic public health achievement.

Australia’s Biggest Quiz forms part of the Ending Hepatitis C campaign, which is being delivered by Hepatitis Australia and is being funded by the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care as part of a wider program of initiatives designed to form part of Australia’s strategy to end viral hepatitis.

To be part of this history-making, record-breaking attempt to help end hep C in Australia join in the fun on Wednesday 26 October either online, or at one of these four NSW live-event locations:

  • Blacktown
    Blacktown Workers Club | 55 Campbell St, Blacktown
  • Central Coast
    The Entrance Leagues Club | 3 Bay Village Rd, Bateau Bay
  • Dubbo
    The Commercial Hotel | 161 Brisbane St, Dubbo
  • Goulburn
    Goulburn Workers Club | 1 McKell Pl, Goulburn


Published 18 October, 2022

Originally published in The Champion eNews #111

Read more

New report shows sustained investment is needed to eliminate hep C by 2030

New report shows sustained investment is needed to eliminate hep C by 2030A new national report released in October by the Burnett Institute and Kirby Institute has highlighted a decline in hep C testing and treatment uptake. The report – Australia’s progress towards hepatitis C elimination 2021 – notes that, although there has been some good progress in earlier years, the current trend puts Australia at risk of not achieving its target of eliminating hep C as a “public health threat” by 2030.

Declines in hep C testing and treatment in 2020

There was a decline in testing, in 2020, for both hep C antibody and for RNA testing (used to detect current infections).

The report adds that the same trend has been observed for the uptake of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) treatment for hep C. Unfortunately, 2020 was the first year since the start of the DAA program where less than 10,000 people were treated. Critically, COVID-19 is likely to have impacted both testing and treatment uptake. It is a impact that can expected to feature in testing and treatment rates in 2021 also.

Since DAA treatments were introduced in 2016, close to half of the people living with hep C at that time have now been treated. However nearly 120,000 Australians still need treatment. There is an urgent need to engage with this group who have not accessed treatments and some of whom may not know they have the virus.

Innovation and engagement required to reverse trend

There is a need to find additional innovative ways to engage with communities, and to look at how we help those who have hep C – undiagnosed and diagnosed – to get care. This includes simplifying access to treatment, addressing stigma and discrimination and extending the use of peer workers to better reach priority groups.

The report’s findings highlight the need for immediate and sustained investment in community, education, and clinical programs to increase hep C awareness, testing and treatment. Modelling outlined in the report shows these type of investments would be highly cost-effective in the long-term.

Huge net economic benefits to be made from investments

Maintaining the same testing and treatment rates from the last five years up to 2030 would help prevent 15,700 new infections and 8,500 deaths over 2016–2030. Economic modelling in the report indicates current investments would become cost-saving by 2022 and go on to have a net economic benefit of $5.7 billion by 2030.

However, scaling-up testing and treatment is required to reach hep C elimination targets by 2030. It would also avert an additional 10,000 new infections, increasing the net economic benefit at 2030 by a further $272 million.

Person-centred and community-focused approach is critical

With strategic investment and concerted effort Australia can eliminate hep C by 2030. Centring on people impacted by hep C will be critical to this achievement. A comprehensive response is needed including prevention, harm reduction, testing, diagnosis, treatment, and post-cure support.

Australia has a once in a generation opportunity to eliminate a disease that is a leading cause of liver cancer. We must ensure that no one is left behind in achieving the goals of the National Hepatitis C Strategy.

  • Read Australia’s progress towards hepatitis C elimination >>>CLICK HERE
  • Read original Burnett Institute media release >>>CLICK HERE

Learn More About Hep C

Want to find out more about hep C? We’re here with loads of resources to help you make the best health choices for you. Our hepatitis C FAQs aim to quickly answer the most commonly asked hep C questions. You might have had hep C for several years, or you might have been diagnosed with hep C recently. In any case, our hep C FAQs are for you.

You can also call the free Hepatitis Infoline to speak to someone who knows a lot about hep C, and who can help you decide what’s best for you and your health. Call 1800 803 990 today.

Published 15 November, 2021
Originally published in The Champion eNews #101

Read more

Dried Blood Spot (DBS) Testing to be available through Hepatitis NSW

DBS Testing to be available through Hepatitis NSWHepatitis NSW is excited to announce we have been approved to offer Dried Blood Spot (DBS) testing in partnership with Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), the Network of Alcohol and Drug Agencies (NADA) and the Community Restorative Centre (CRC).

What is DBS?

The DBS test is a free, easy, private, and accurate way to test for hepatitis C and/or HIV. The test works by putting a few drops of blood from a person’s finger on a testing card, leaving it to dry, then sending it to a Sydney laboratory for analysis. A nurse from Sexual Health Infolink, or the health service where the person did the test, will give their results, by phone, text, or email, and talk about the next steps.

  • Watch video on how to do a DBS test >>>CLICK HERE
  • More information/order a DBS home test kit >>>CLICK HERE
  • Read/order Tx! MAG #38 (the DBS issue!) >>>CLICK HERE

People can test privately in their own home, or at a community service, rather than in a clinic, and don’t need to have blood drawn from a vein. The hep C test is for HCV-RNA (also called PCR), meaning it shows if a current infection is present. DBS can be used to check that treatment has worked, or if reinfection has occurred.

Who is DBS for?

The DBS hep C test is for anyone who:

  • has ever injected a drug;
  • has ever been in prison or attended a community corrections service;
  • identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander;
  • has ever attended a drug and alcohol service or mental health service;
  • has experienced homelessness; or
  • is anyone from countries where hep C is more common

You also must be over 16 years of age and living in NSW.

How will Hepatitis NSW offer DBS?

Hepatitis NSW, Sydney LHD, NADA and CRC are collaborating to build sector capacity, to provide hep C testing using DBS, and to increase health care access in the community.

CRC case workers support people with complex needs to transition from the criminal justice system back to the community. Hepatitis NSW staff will work with CRC case workers on face-to-face client visits, and offer hep C information, DBS testing, and peer support. This will reduce barriers to healthcare, aided by the support of each client’s familiar case worker.

Hepatitis NSW will also offer DBS tests at health promotion and health education events, and in settings where Local Health District staff are unable to offer hep C testing.

NADA will invite their member organisations to collaborate with Hepatitis NSW – including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services – to increase hep C testing, treatment, and other steps toward eliminating hep C.

Published 16 September, 2021
Originally published in The Champion eNews #99

Read more

Free smart phone app for people about to start hep C treatment

Free smart phone app for people about to start hep C treatmentThe Hepatitis NSW Hep Connect program helps people living with hep C with everything from testing to treatment to cure.

The Perx Health smart phone app can help you remember to take your medication on a daily basis, as well as remind you to do other important health tasks like attending appointments and picking up prescriptions. The app features games, community connection, education, and some exciting challenges. And there are rewards!

If you are about to start hep C treatment, please think about downloading the app and join us for free.

“What a great tool to keep our patients on track! Great initiative. Simple and easy.”
Nurse Prescriber, WSLHD

We would love to have you on board. There are no restrictions on who can get supported.

It is simple to join!

  • The app is completely free and takes less than a minute to download.
  • Simply click on the survey link, answer the four basic eligibility questions, and you’re in!
  • the only prerequisites for participation are a smartphone and an email address.

Features of the Perx Health app

  • The Perx Health app contains no advertising, and no data is shared with third parties.
  • Consistent disclosure and consent to privacy in accordance with NSW Health guidelines.
  • App users are greeted with automated welcome emails and SMS messages.
  • Reward-based – offer vouchers in exchange for medication adherence and appointment attendance.
  • App users can contribute by filling out our feedback surveys.
  • Are if you’re out of data the app will continue to function for a month.

Want to come onboard? To start the survey >>>CLICK HERE

“Thank you so much from the deepest depth of my heart for your help. I got my SVR results today – I am now hep C free. Thank you and your organisation! I could not have done it without your support and will recommend it to anyone.”
Tony, Hep Connect client, 27 July 2020

If you would like to know more about the Hep Connect Perx program, please contact:

Susanne Wilkinson, Project Officer
email: swilkinson@hep.org.au

Published 9 August, 2021

Read more

Media Release: Great achievements after five years of hepatitis C elimination – but more work needed

Media Release: Great achievements after five years of hepatitis C elimination – but more work neededMonday March 1st marks the five-year anniversary of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme listing of new, affordable, highly effective treatments for hepatitis C. Direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) that cure hepatitis C were made broadly available to all eligible Australians.

With the groundbreaking hep C treatment, we are closer to our goals

Steven Drew, Hepatitis NSW CEO, said, “Thanks to those groundbreaking medications, elimination of hepatitis C has become an achievable goal, in line with Australian and NSW Government commitments. We are within reach of achieving elimination of hep C by 2030.”

Mr Drew continued, “However, elimination will require the ongoing combined efforts of government, the health sector, and community to be fully realised.”

So far, an estimated 30,200 people in New South Wales have started treatment for, and been cured of, hepatitis C since 2016. This represents a saving to the NSW Health Care System of over $93.6m.

Of treatment initiations since March 2016, 1,514 were accessed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people under the Closing the Gap scheme. Many more Indigenous Australians have accessed treatment through medical specialists, GPs, and health service providers outside of the Closing the Gap scheme.

The hep C DAA medications, which have a cure rate of 95 per cent, can be prescribed by medical specialists, general practitioners, and nurse practitioners. Cure is achieved within 8 or 12 weeks, with minimal or no side-effects. It is important that people are tested and treated; while hepatitis C initially has almost no symptoms, if left untreated it can ultimately result in significant liver disease and possibly death.

The new hep C treatments have been improved

Susan Hawkeswood lived with hepatitis C for over twenty years before being diagnosed with the virus in the early 2010s. “Interferon was the only treatment available then, it was not very effective and had many unpleasant, often debilitating, side-effects and I chose not to use it.”

“Fortunately, the new direct acting antivirals came along before my liver was damaged by the virus. I had no side effects from the DAA treatment and was cured in just three months,” said Susan. “While living with hepatitis C I often felt exhausted, but with cure my energy has returned.”

It is essential to continue promoting these groundbreaking cures

Mr Drew said, “While these many successes are a great achievement for our community, there are still tens of thousands across the state that are yet to seek treatment and cure, and treatment uptake is now declining.”

“It is essential to reinvigorate promotion of these ground-breaking cures to a broad audience, and to ensure that all people in New South Wales can live their best life, free from hepatitis C,” said Mr Drew. “With that in mind, it is very concerning that new legislation being considered and supported by both the NSW Government and Opposition could significantly undermine those efforts.”

For more information, please contact:

Hepatitis NSW
Steven Drew, CEO
0402 518 285

Read more

Hep C Diagnosis & Stigma: I Was My Own Worst Enemy

Peta, one of our Community Peer Workers, has written a guest blog post about her experience of living with and being cured of, hepatitis C.

It is likely that I had hep C for three or four years before I was diagnosed with it at the age of 21. I didn’t know much about the virus then, just that it was something you got from sharing needles and that there was a lot of stigma around it.

I had been drug-free for almost two years when I heard that my ex-partner had tested positive for hep C. This meant, I realised with a knot tightening in the pit of my stomach, that I was very likely positive too. However, I didn’t get tested right away.

The stigma attached to hep C made dealing with potential diagnosis hard to cope with

I had grown up in a conservative family; I was a “good girl from a good family”. My earlier drug use had affected my relationships with my family and friends, and I thought I knew how my family would take the news that I had hep C. In my mind, I believed they would assume I was using drugs again. The stigma attached to the virus – not just in the wider community but also within myself – made dealing with my potential diagnosis quite intimidating and extremely hard to cope with.

Instead of facing the situation head on I started drinking. I pretended nothing was wrong. My drinking got heavier and more out of hand.

Deep down, I knew I had the virus; and I also knew I was probably making myself sicker by drinking as heavily as I was. I now had a serious mental health issue and a whole new dependency to deal with. It was making me twice as sick because of my undiagnosed hep C.

I was so terrified of facing my situation

Part of me knew I had to do something, so I started going to doctors. I was so terrified of facing my situation, and the stigma surrounding it, that every time I got tested, I pretended it wasn’t happening and avoided the results.

In total I had about six different tests from six different doctors… and each time I refused to pick up the results! This went on for maybe six months to a year, and all the while I kept drinking more and more.

Finally, I broke. Maybe it was the various doctors’ surgeries constantly ringing me to come in to get my results. Maybe I was coming to the realisation that I couldn’t live as an alcoholic anymore. I knew I was going to die slowly and painfully if I didn’t face up to the situation.

Starting treatment turned my life around

In 2001, I finally got tested and was diagnosed with hep C.

Because of public and personal stigma around the virus, not only did I delay my treatment, I put unnecessary stress on my liver, and I had estranged my family and friends even further. Plus, I had another dependency to deal with.

I started interferon treatment for hep C in 2002.

Interferon was a tough treatment to complete. The side effects were intense! I was surprised how supportive my family and friends were. They were proud of me for facing up to my situation and admired the strength it took to complete the treatment.

I was my own worst enemy in my journey with hep C

Now, looking back, I realise how much time I wasted and how much stress I put myself through. The virus may have affected my body, but the stigma I had attached to it created mental health issues that took years to heal and caused a dependency that I might have avoided had I sought help straightaway.

The stigma hurt me far more than the virus did. For a while, I had been my own worst enemy. But I’m now 18 years sober, I have a little boy and a happy healthy relationship with my partner and my family. To anyone who thinks they might have hep C, I’d say get tested right away. The treatments for hep C these days are amazing – effective, discreet and easy… don’t let stigma get in the way of getting cured.

Learn more about hep C by getting in contact with our Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 990,
or download one of our free online resources.

Published 2 September, 2020

Read more

It was a case of second time lucky for my hep C cure

It Was A Case Of Second Time Lucky For My Hep C CureJames, one of our Community Peer Workers, has written a guest blog post about his experience of living with and being cured of, hepatitis C.

My early life, around Brisbane during the 1970s and 1980s, was difficult. Due to a family breakdown, I began living on and off the streets. Recreational drug and alcohol use became an everyday thing. During the early 1990s, I got an authority for morphine and benzodiazepines to help with the pain and anxiety from spinal injuries. In 2000, my then partner and I had a baby daughter, and we moved to Lismore to gain access to health services and education for ourselves, and to build a better life.

In Lismore, I decided I wanted to try and get off morphine. So, my authority was cancelled, and I was put on methadone maintenance program which I remained on for nearly 15 years. This was a time in my life when I discovered new rock bottoms, and a level of usage that transcended anything that had gone before.

I had resigned myself to live with, and perhaps die from, hepatitis C

A friend who was hep C positive was staying with me and we accidentally mixed up our injecting equipment. At first, I was not interested in getting tested for hep C. I knew the treatment that was available in those days was not suitable for me. Interferon could exasperate depressive conditions, and I didn’t need that in my life.

I had resigned myself to live with, and perhaps die from, hepatitis C; waiting for a better cure that was not even guaranteed. A few years later I was at the local Needle and Syringe Program, and I agreed to be tested for hep C. It came as no surprise to me to be told I was hep C positive.

Hep C related discrimination came from an unlikely source

Very early on I found who I had to disclose to, and who I didn’t have to. Discrimination came from the unlikely source of my family being frightened of dishes and toothbrushes, and so on. Such issues were easily sorted by educating them, and myself, to understand exactly what the risks were.

Just being sick for a long time brings judgment calls from people that don’t understand. Fatigue is seen as laziness, and a slight of character. This is the kind of discrimination I faced, mainly because I am so private. I believe that, with education, there’s no need to have any discrimination around this issue.

I saw my health deteriorate in many ways

Over the next few years I saw my health deteriorate in many ways. However, I wasn’t sure if that was due to the drugs, mental health issues, lifestyle, or all of the above. I believed hep C wasn’t having much effect on most folks living with it, and I was going to wait until new treatments the doctors had started talking about became available.

I had even started to become a stranger to myself

The impact of all of this on my life was quite far-reaching, especially in relationships. I had even started to become a stranger to myself. Some impacts were not at all obvious until after I was eventually cured. Broadly speaking, the symptoms I experienced while living with hep C included:

  • Mood swings and depression;
  • Digestive issues, nausea and poor appetite;
  • Skin problems, eczema, dermatitis; and
  • Lethargy, always tired but hard to rest.

Although I had put most of these down to drug use, and to getting old, after I was cured, I found this was not the case.

My first attempt at hep C treatment was unsuccessful

Around 2016, I got off methadone. I went to a healing centre for 12 weeks to get clean and then walked straight into hep C treatment.

My experience of getting access to treatment through the rehab was made easier by the support of case workers and doctors. As long as I kept my appointments and looked after myself the staff at the liver clinic kept the ball rolling for me. I was able to drop in most days if I needed to talk about treatment.

My first treatment was Harvoni. I was suitable for treatment but unfortunately it was unsuccessful. Apparently, I was a rare exception – the new treatments were usually very successful and almost side-effect free, but not for me. No side-effects, but no cure either.

As disappointing as it was for the first treatment to be unsuccessful, the liver clinic stayed in contact with me. They ensured I was able to get a second treatment as soon as possible.

I anxiously attempted another hep C treatment

Luckily, within a year a “salvage” treatment – Vosevi – became available. I was one of the first half dozen to receive it, and this time it was a success. I was cured!

With Vosevi there were quite a few side-effects, especially in the last four weeks. These side-effects were very similar to hep C symptoms, intensifying in the last four weeks and taking me about 12 weeks to recover from.

But now I feel better than I have felt in years.

The SVR test results – 12 weeks after finishing treatment – was, I think, the most important news I’ve ever been given. Without the SVR test there was no way of knowing if I was cured or not, so I anxiously waited for the results to then be told it was successful and the virus was gone.

Now I have something to give back

I’m grateful for my opportunity to come through this and to be able to put my hand up and say I’m there for anyone who is going through the same thing. The most beautiful thing about being gifted such an experience is that I now have something to give back.

Learn more about hep C by getting in contact with our Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 990,
or download one of our free online resources.

Published 25 August, 2020

Read more

Hep C Treatment has Changed

Hep C Treatment has Changed Hep C testing and treatment is now super simple, super safe, super manageable and super-effective. Unfortunately, some people aren’t getting treated because they are running on old information about the previous interferon/ribavirin treatments. However, things got better a few years ago with the introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). Hep C treatment has changed for the better. People can be treated at local health services, and most don’t need to go to the Liver Clinic.

Clearing the Path aims to spread awareness about hep C treatments and cure

These are the positive messages of this year’s hepatitis C campaign, Clearing the Path. The campaign is aimed at not only raising awareness of DAA treatments and cure but dispelling stubborn myths that persist from the days of interferon. DAAs have a very high cure rate – over 95% – with minimal, if any, side-effects for most people. Taken as daily doses of pills, the new treatments take just 8 or 12 weeks.

Thousands of people in NSW have already been treated and cured since March 2016, but many more living with hep C are yet to seek treatment. We conducted research which showed that lack of information or misconceptions were the main reasons people with hep C hadn’t come forward to be treated. The campaign will deliver myth-busting, correct information in a positive, uplifting format and get the conversation about treatment started.

What is hep C and who is at risk?

Hepatitis C is a virus that is transmitted through blood-to-blood contact and can, over time, damage a person’s liver – leading to fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, and even liver cancer.

Someone could be at risk of hep C if they have ever had blood-to-blood contact. Sharing injecting equipment or getting home tattoos or home piercings are the most common means of transmission.

Many people do not know they are living with hep C

Tens of thousands of people in NSW are living with hep C, but many do not know they have the virus. Some people do not have symptoms. Having a blood test is the only way to know if someone is living with the virus.

Being cured of hep C can improve quality of life. Many people who have finished their course of treatment report feeling greater levels of energy and alertness.

There has never been a better time to get tested and start hep C treatment

NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week started on Monday 27 July, with World Hepatitis Day on Tuesday 28 July. During that week and into August, Hepatitis NSW with NUAA will be rolling out the bright, eye-catching artwork – wall posters, street pole posters, pull up banners, and pubs and clubs washroom advertising – throughout New South Wales. The messaging focuses on the availability and effectiveness of new hep C treatments.

There has never been a better time to start hep C treatment and be cured of the virus. Treatment has changed for the better, and that’s no fake news.

For more information on this campaign, please email: Vanessavpollett@hep.org.au
To find out more on hep C and cure, call the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 990 or visit the campaign website>>> hepc.org.au

Published 3 August, 2020




FOR MORE INFORMATION tap to call the Hepatitis Infoline

Read more

Challenges… I’ve had more than a few!

Challenges… I’ve had more than a fewJarra*, one of our Community Peer Workers, has written a guest blog post about her experience of living with and being cured of, hepatitis C.
(*Not her real name.)

During my late teens, everyone I knew was learning they were hep C positive. It felt inevitable to me that I would also get the virus and, at the age of 19, I was diagnosed with it too. At first I didn’t notice it affecting me, and I wasn’t too worried about long term effects either; those were at least twenty years away… a lifetime.
A few years later I watched my partner go through interferon treatment. This was intense and put me off the idea of hep C treatment for myself.

I didn’t want to live but I didn’t want to die either

By the time new, effective treatments were available my life was a mess. I had no permanent housing, I was in an abusive relationship, and Family Services were breathing down my neck. My daughter was removed from me and I wasn’t allowed to call or see her.

I had only just been coping at that point, and this experience sent me into a tornado of anger and hate. Using whatever drugs I could get my hands on, I spiralled down fast. I didn’t want to live but I didn’t want to die either.

I felt vulnerable and trapped

After my months-long pity-party, I decided something had to change or I would end up dead. The thought of my daughter attending my funeral was my motivation to book into rehab. There, I got a full health check and realised I had been in denial about my hep C. I needed to get treatment. It was somewhere to start on my road to health.

At this point in my life, turning up to an appointment was a challenge. But I had made a commitment to myself – if I couldn’t keep an appointment, how could I look after my daughter again? This thought got me over the line, and onto the bus and to the liver clinic on time.

Everyone at the hospital was really nice, but when the nurse took my health history she asked if I was still using and, if so, what drugs. These questions made me anxious. I was being drug tested by Family Services and going through court. Those agencies were accessing my health records and monitoring any prescriptions I placed. I felt vulnerable and trapped. I didn’t want to lie in case it was relevant to the treatment, but I wasn’t going to give out info that could be used against me. So, I lied, which made me even more anxious.

The reality of dying from this disease hit me hard

The fibroscan of my liver was simple and stress-free. But then I was told I had cirrhosis. This hit me harder than the hep C diagnosis had. Suddenly, dying from this disease seemed like a possibility.

The hospital had difficulty finding veins to take my blood, and the flow of blood from the veins they could get was small. Blood samples they collected weren’t useable. More frustration and anxiety!

The doctors and nurses were kind and respectful, but it was definitely impressed on me how much this was costing, and not to lose the prescription. It would be, I was told, a headache of paperwork and red tape to replace. This made me determined to prove that I wasn’t a stereotype, that I could be trusted to complete my treatment.

As I have PTSD, I had to work hard at remembering to take my tablets. I put a system in place to help. While I had a few side-effects, it was difficult to tell if this was due to the treatment or because of everything else I was doing and taking.

Before long, I had finished my three months of treatment and felt proud of myself. I had started and finished something which, during the chaos of my life at the time, was an achievement.

However, I never went back after 12 weeks for the final test.

I didn’t understand why my hep C didn’t clear

Some months later, I returned to rehab and was told I still had the virus. I was gutted and shocked. I didn’t understand why I hadn’t cleared the hep C. I had been so careful and yet “I had blown it”. I assumed I had been reinfected by my partner. I felt embarrassed, and I was angry with him.

A year or so passed before I shared this news with a friend who had also been through hep C treatment. Her advice and encouragement got me back to the liver clinic. Since I believed I had caught it from my partner, I took him along too.

Turns out I still had my original genotype, which was different from my partner’s. Both my self-shame and my anger towards him had been misguided. They told me the reason I hadn’t cleared was unknown.
The doctor said I could be treated again but that better blood collection was needed. Instead of the anxious painful experience from before, I was put in contact with “The Best Liver Nurse on the Planet”. She used an ultrasound machine to find decent veins and, first try, was able to get eight good vials. What a massive relief!

The fibroscan revealed that my liver cirrhosis score had improved, so the first treatment hadn’t been a waste of time. And, instead of telling lies to uncomfortable questions, I asked the reason for the question. The doctor said that knowing if I was using drugs had no relevance to treatment, it was about concern for me. I thanked her for her support, but said I wasn’t comfortable talking about anything illegal I might be doing and reassured her I’d take every precaution.

New hep C treatment turned my life around

The doctor put me on a different treatment drug. I experienced no side-effects this time and quickly started to feel better. I finished the course easy-peasy.

Issues around my housing, Family Services, and, especially, my daughter all remain in limbo. But despite all that, and the stress it brought, I was able to complete treatment… twice! Although I haven’t yet had a definite “you’re cured” test result, I’m booked in for blood tests in August which will hopefully be definitive and give me the good news.

Doing something productive for myself had a knock-on effect. It built self-esteem, which enabled me to have the bravery and self-love to start making changes in my life. Challenges remain in my life but, fingers crossed, hep C will no longer be one of them.

Learn more about hep C by getting in contact with our Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 990,
or download one of our free online resources.


For help call Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800


Published 30 July, 2020

Read more

Media Release | Reducing the burden of hepatitis on World Hepatitis Day

Reducing the burden of hepatitis on World Hepatitis DayTens of thousands of people in NSW are living with viral hepatitis. Of greatest concern are hep B and hep C – two viruses that can become life-long chronic conditions, eventually leading to liver cirrhosis, liver cancer and sadly, all too often, death. A significant percentage of people living with hep B or hep C are unaware they have it. Even where people know their status, many thousands experience barriers to accessing healthcare, treatment, or cure.

What is the significance of World Hepatitis Day?

World Hepatitis Day is an important event to highlight these issues and drive better outcomes. NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week starts on Monday 27 July, with World Hepatitis Day on Tuesday 28 July. A key activity for this year is the roll out of the bright, eye-catching artwork – wall posters, street pole posters, pull up banners, and pubs and clubs washroom advertising – throughout New South Wales. The messaging focuses on the availability and effectiveness of new hep C treatments.

For hep B, while there is currently no cure, babies born in Australia are vaccinated against it; also, any adult who needs to be vaccinated can be. Hep B testing is available and encouraged for anyone from an at-risk group. Should a person be found to be living with hep B they can have regular monitoring of their liver health, and, if required, treatment to manage their viral load.

For hep C, all Australians over the age of 12 have access to effective and affordable direct acting antiviral (DAA) cures. Hep C treatment is available through local doctors. Community organisations and government agencies work to raise awareness of the cure and help people into and through treatment.

70,000 Australians have been cured of hepatitis C since 2016

Being cured of hep C can improve quality of life. Many people who have finished their course of treatment report feeling greater levels of energy and alertness.

Since the DAAs became available in Australia in 2016, more than 70,000 Australians have been cured of hepatitis C.

Hepatitis NSW CEO, Mr Steven Drew said the medications have a cure rate of 95 per cent. “They can be prescribed by any general practitioner, as well as authorised nurse practitioners. Cure is usually achieved within 8 or 12 weeks, with minimal or no side-effects.”

“These oral pill treatments have offered a revolutionary opportunity,” said Mr Drew. “It is important that people see their health professional to be treated and get their best life back. While hepatitis C initially has almost no symptoms, if left untreated it can ultimately result in significant liver disease.”

We have the rare opportunity to eliminate a chronic disease

Mr Drew said testing for hepatitis C was simple and easy as getting your GP to do a blood test.

“We’ve all led varied and adventurous lives filled with new experiences. It may be that some, or one, of those experiences exposed us to the chance of hepatitis C transmission. The only way to know for sure is to see your GP to have a blood test for hep C.”

“Should you learn you do have hep C, please seriously consider commencing treatment and get cured,” said Mr Drew.

“It is not often we get the chance to eliminate a chronic disease, but we have that opportunity now with hepatitis C,” said Mr Drew. “I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet sought out this medication to explore their treatment options,” adding that Hepatitis NSW could provide information and support to anyone living with, or affected by hepatitis including family and friends of people living with hepatitis C.

“I encourage people to contact the Hepatitis NSW Infoline on 1800 803 990 for more information about the treatment options available or hepatitis generally. You can also contact us using our online chat function on our website hep.org.au.”

Read more