Pet Pics is a digital marketing asset for the NSW Hepatitis Infoline and went live on 3 December 2018.

It helps drive callers to the Infoline; specifically people who experience homelessness, socioeconomic disadvantage or poor access to healthcare services. The Hepatitis Infoline provides support, valuable health promotion messaging and in most cases, can refer people to local health services via Hepatitis NSW’s extensive viral hepatitis-related online directory.

  • A person sends us a photo of their pet (by SMS text).
  • We Photoshop their photo and turn it into a Pet Pic (see accompanying image) and text it back to them
  • They share the Pet Pic as often as possible with their friends
  • At the end of each month, we send everyone involved an SMS text asking for votes on the best recent Pet Pic
  • The winner is sent a voucher (by SMS text) for dog food or phone credit.

Each Pet Pic features a health promotion message that, ideally, will resonate with our target communities. To help develop these, we draw on the very valuable social research work being carried out by Annie Madden, Joanne Bryant, and others at the Centre for Social Research in Health. This body of work has identified numerous barriers to people’s accessing the new hepatitis C cures:

  • Belief that now is not the current time for treatment for me
  • Beliefs that side effects are still too much of a problem
  • Fears and internal stigma around doctors’ attitudes and being treated awkwardly/rudely
  • Fears and internal stigma around poor vein health and difficulty around phlebotomy
  • Fears around current injecting and eligibility for DAAs

Each Pet Pic also promotes one of the two current project partners; these are pet-related charities and projects who do wonderful work within disadvantaged communities:


The project builds on Hepatitis NSW surveying of NSP clients in 2017-18.

  • Of nearly 300 respondents, 84% said they owned a smartphone.
  • Importantly, more than 66% of smartphone owners said they use their phone for texting and taking photos.
  • And 60% of smartphone users said they run out of phone credit on a weekly or monthly basis.

We also drew on Homeless and Connected: Mobile phones and the Internet in the lives of homeless Australians (Dr Justine Humphry, 2014).


We will try to process pics within 1-2 weeks but sometimes it might take longer. If your photo is not suitable, we will text back some tips, asking you to try again.

This project is aimed at people living on the street or otherwise doing it tough, e.g. people in public housing, or eligible for Health Care Concession Card, or who have done time in prison. If you do not fit our audience, please do not enter this competition.



This health promotion project will not pass on anyone’s mobile phone number to anyone else. By sending us your pet photo you are giving us permission to text you back and to enter you in the prize draw. This project uses an Opt-Out approach. You can Opt-Out at any time by texting us with the words “Opt Out”.


This page last updated 30 May 2019

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