The Champion - April 2018

This issue:

  1. Love Liver, Love Life – hep B play seen by 600 people in Hurstville
  2. RedLink Expo a great opportunity for community engagement
  3. Still not convinced about hep C treatment? We’d love to hear from you!  
  4. Will we reach the goal of eliminating hep C in Australia?

Also:


Love Liver, Love Life – hep B play seen by 600 people in Hurstville

Love Liver, Love Life - hep B play seen by 600 people in Fairfield

Whilst hepatitis B may not be the most common conversation topic out there, we at Hepatitis NSW believe that it is always possible to transform any hepatitis-related information into an accessible and interesting format.

Last Saturday, after months of collaboration with Chinese Australian Services Society (CASS), the Australian Arts Assembly (AAA) and Georges River Council, Hepatitis NSW put on a Mandarin educational comedy, Love Liver, Love Life, to an audience of 600 people in Hurstville.

Through newly pregnant Liu Yun’s hepatitis B diagnosis, the audience learnt about hepatitis B transmission routes and regular monitoring. The key message was to get tested for hep B – and, thanks to South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD), local residents were offered free fibroscans and testing after the event.

If the audience’s laughter was any indication, they remained highly entertained throughout the play. Not only that, they understood the importance of getting tested for hep B. Even better, many Chinese-Australian people presented for hep B testing  the following Tuesday. All in all, it was a successful and enjoyable event!

This project is supported by a community grant under the Hepatitis B Community Education Project administered by Hepatitis Australia and funded from the Australian Government, Department of Health, under the Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Prevention Programme.

RedLink Expo a great opportunity for community engagement

RedLink Expo a great opportunity for community engagementIt was a beautiful sunny day in April that Hepatitis NSW headed out to a community event in Redfern to engage in conversations around about viral hepatitis.

Invited by RedLink – the unique outreach centre in the heart of the Redfern social housing estate – to the RedLink Health and Wellbeing Expo, we met up with colleagues from the local liver clinic and other services.

The RedLink expo was a great event to promote services we are providing to our communities. It was also satisfying that we were there to support RedLink on the opening of their new liver clinic. We had the opportunity to speak with many local people who were attending this event which, along with the lunch provided, added to the fun atmosphere.

The crowd happily took part in our quiz, and some people felt inspired to share their personal story of how they were cured of hep C. A big call out to all those who’ve been cured or started treatment – congratulations! We gave away many show bags full of wonderful resources and playing cards.

Other services involved were Legal Aid, Bernados, Good Shepherd, the Sydney Local Health District HARP Unit, and Family and Community Services.

We look forward to attending the next event.

Still not convinced about hep C treatment? We’d love to hear from you!

UnconvincedWith over 40,000 people having accessed the new hep C treatments and the overwhelming majority of those people now living hep C free, we’re making fantastic leaps towards an Australia free of hep C by 2028.

In spite of this, we’ve got over 150,000 people to still get cured. If you’re still unsure about treatment, if you have concerns, if you’ve heard a rumour about treatment, or if you’re definitely not going to get the new treatment, please let us know why.

We value all the opinions of our community here at Hepatitis NSW and your thoughts and feelings about these new cures will help us to work better in making sure everyone gets the healthcare they need.

Please email us at info@hep.org.au and let us know what you think about the new cures.

Will we reach the goal of eliminating hep C in Australia?

Hep C Elimination workshop A recent national workshop held in Melbourne was an opportunity for clinicians, researchers, community members, community organisations and policy makers to check on Australia’s progress to achieve hep C elimination by 2030 and to discuss future directions.

The fantastic progress in getting more than 40,000 people with hep C onto treatment and cured over the last two years was applauded. However, there remained an estimated 200,000 people living with hep C at the end of 2016.

While treatment rates have slowed dramatically the workshop heard it was no cause for alarm, but  still plenty of reason to make a far greater effort across the country to raise awareness and mobilise all people with hep C to access treatment.

Current estimates of people living with hep C are correct which means we know the size of the remaining populations of people with hep C, and we know in detail where those people live.

We heard about the progress – and challenges – across all states and territories.

From March 2016 to September 2017, 19,700 people, or 24% of NSW’s estimated population living with hep C accessed treatment. NSW stands out in having regular treatment data reports published by our Ministry, but more current data would help guide efforts and services as the battles to eliminate this virus intensify.

We mustn’t forget, though, that there is still a very large number of people still contracting hep C each year in NSW and across Australia so harm reduction prevention efforts and services remain paramount.

We do know that we require very many more GPs to be involved in treatment, and that while training for GPs is essential, and certainly available in NSW and across Australia, we still need to make greater efforts in mobilising and engaging GPs.

Stigma and discrimination, lack of awareness of the new treatments and a huge population of people living with hep C who are hard to reach and very hard to engage were noted as ongoing and significant barriers to people coming forward for treatment and cure.

For elimination of hep C to happen in Australia by 2030 (and in NSW by 2028), three conditions need to be met:

  • an 80% reduction in new chronic infections
  • 80% of all people with hep C to have had DAA treatments
  • a 65% reduction in the number of people dying from HCV related liver disease.

If one of those targets is not reached, we will not have achieved elimination.

This workshop was a great way to focus national attention on hep C elimination through treatment scale-up. We hope it becomes an annual event. It will help keep the momentum driving the partnership to beat the hep C epidemic on track.

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