Champion August 2019

This issue:

  1. Launching 2019 NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week and World Hepatitis Day
  2. Our first Reconciliation Action Plan now available
  3. Positions available at Hepatitis NSW
  4. Hepatitis NSW video, radio, media and conference news
  5. Steep declines in hep C among people who inject drugs

Launching 2019 NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week and World Hepatitis Day

NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week was launched on 22 July with a successful event held by Hepatitis NSW at Surry Hills. With over 60 people attending from across the community sector, government agencies, and research and clinical fields, it was a great opportunity to hear the latest on viral hepatitis elimination and other related issues.

The event commenced with a Welcome to Country by Mr Allen Madden from the Metropolitan Land Council.

Dr Kerry Chant – the NSW Chief Health Officer, NSW Ministry of Health – then delivered the keynote address, speaking of achievements in progress to eliminate hepatitis C and hepatitis B as a public health concern, and of the challenges still ahead. NSW has set 2028 as the target for hepatitis C elimination, and while there are tens of thousands of people still to be cured she was optimistic this would be achieved as so many Local Health Districts are doing great work to initiate treatment among people in their communities.

Other speakers included:

  • Associate Professor Alice Lee – specialist in hepatitis B treatment, hepatologist and gastroenterologist – gave an overview of hepatitis B needs, and spoke of developments in point of care testing.
  • Charles Henderson – Deputy CEO, NUAA – who talked of the challenges and opportunities for hep C elimination among people who inject drugs.
  • Professor Greg Dore – The Kirby Institute, University of NSW Sydney – spoke regarding hepatitis C elimination in Australia, noting that while there had been progress to date there needed to be efforts to reverse recent downward trends in hep C treatment numbers.
  • Dr Loren Brener – Centre for Social Research in Health, University of NSW – spoke on the social aspects of living with hepatitis C and hepatitis B, notably issues relating to stigma and discrimination.
  • Kyle Leadbeatter and Sinead Shiels – from Hepatitis NSW and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital respectively – gave an overview of Hepatitis NSW’s expanded peer workforce, our capacity across Local Health Districts, and successes with our Live Hep Hep C Free program.

Significantly, there were also two speakers from the community:

  • Amanda, who told a very personal story regarding hepatitis B and how it has impacted her, and her immediate and extended family; and
  • Grace, who spoke about learning she had acquired hepatitis C in 2009 at age 21, and her relief at achieving cure with the new direct acting anti-viral treatments some seven years later.

NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week is an opportunity to focus on and highlight the great work in hepatitis C and hepatitis B being undertaken by so many people, organisations, and agencies across the state. Those efforts, of course, are not confined to just one week of the year and we are always working hard to ensure the same level of awareness remains year long.

Hepatitis Awareness Week ended with World Hepatitis Day on July 28.

Our first Reconciliation Action Plan now available

Reconciliation Action PlanHepatitis NSW launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) during the wonderful NAIDOC event held at 414 Elizabeth Street. Our vision for reconciliation is of a culture that embraces unity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. We seek to build genuine, mutually respectful partnerships between organisations working to end viral hepatitis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. In this way communities will be empowered and fully involved in improving their health and reducing the impact of viral hepatitis on their lives. 

Nationally, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are over-represented in viral hepatitis diagnoses, including in NSW. Our RAP adds an extra layer of direct accountability to the work Hepatitis NSW does with these communities. Hepatitis NSW has committed to helping Close the Gap on health and, in particular on viral hepatitis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health. The implementation of this RAP ensures additional quality standards for our work with the people of these communities.

Our perception that we are “doing well” is not enough, so we have embedded minimum standards for our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and have accountability through performance measurement and reporting. These additional standards are set at an achievable level, and add to the work with NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are already in our service delivery programs (education and community support, information and communication) and through our advocacy, policy, media and representation work.

To read our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)>>> CLICK HERE

Positions at Hepatitis NSW

Position VacanciesChief Executive Officer
As many readers may know, towards the end this year, Mr Stuart Loveday will be retiring from his role as the CEO of Hepatitis NSW after serving 25 years in the position.

Hepatitis NSW is now advertising for the key position of Chief Executive Officer.

Full details and a job pack>>> CLICK HERE

Applicants wishing to speak about the position are welcome to contact Hepatitis NSW President Dr Denise Jarratt by emailing our Office Manager at jgennery@hep.org.au leaving their contact details including their phone number, and Denise will call to discuss.

Closing date: 5 pm Monday 12 August 2019
Interviews: 19 August 2019

Project Officer Health Promotion (p/t 21hpw)
We are also seeking a highly motivated person to join our Health Promotion and Community Support team. Reporting to the Programs Manager, you will have the responsibility of supporting the Coordinator, Health Promotion, to support the delivery of education, workforce development and capacity building activities.

Full details and a job pack>>> CLICK HERE

Closing date: 16 August, 2019
Interviews: 21 August 2019

Further information:

Sandy Davidson, Programs Manager
phone: 02 8217 7703

Hepatitis NSW video, radio, media and conference news

“Hep C Can Be Cured” video series
As part of a project with our Community Media Speakers we have launched two new short videos. Please check them out, and if you could share/thumbs up/comment on them too it would be greatly appreciated:

ABC Radio Sydney interview
Hepatitis NSW CEO Stuart Loveday spoke with Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck at ABC Radio Sydney during NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week. To listen>>> CLICK HERE

Being cured of hepatitis C a “huge relief”
Based on a media release we co-authored with NSW Health, this article features quotes from Jase, another of our community media speakers. When it was shared on Facebook during Hepatitis Awareness Week it went mini-viral with over 750 people seeing it. To read>>>CLICK HERE

Hepatitis NSW at AVHEC
The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Elimination Conference (AVHEC) is in Sydney from 5-6 August. Hepatitis NSW will be there and we hope to see you too. In particular:

  • #MyHepatitisHopeExhibitor booth: we’re sharing a booth with Hepatitis Australia. Please drop by and say hello, grab some of our resources, and make a wish and get a pic taken for our #MyHepatitisHope social media splash!
  • Speakers: Some of our staff will be talking at sessions, check out the program for times and drop by:
    • Stuart Loveday, CEO, will be presenting a paper titled “Community Mobilisation: The Way Ahead”; and will be part of the “Engaging People in Testing and Care” plenary.
    • Maria McMahon, Deputy CEO, will be talking about Easter’s Byron Bay Bluesfest Hep C stall.
  • Posters: We have three posters being exhibited – please check them out!
    • [#109] Let’s Stick Together to Close the Gap.
    • [#118] The value of a peer and clinical partnership to facilitate hepatitis C healthcare access in priority settings.
    • [#120] Addressing stigma associated with hepatitis B among Chinese and Korean Australians: Family Health and Cancer Prevention.

Steep declines in hep C among people who inject drugs

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According to a new report released by the Kirby Institute at UNSW Sydney, the prevalence of hepatitis C has declined by 60% among people who inject drugs since 2016, when new hepatitis C cures were made available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The report was published in the lead-up to World Hepatitis Day in July, and analyses data from people who inject drugs who attend Australia’s Needle Syringe Programs (NSPs). Among this population, the proportion of people living with hep C in 2018 was one in five, this is down from one in two in 2015 before the treatments were made available.

Researchers from the Kirby Institute believe that these unprecedented reductions are due to a high uptake of new hepatitis C treatments and are an early indicator for reductions in transmission of hepatitis C Australia-wide.

People who inject drugs are the major population at risk of hepatitis C in Australia, and the report shows that since the direct acting anti-viral treatments were added to the PBS the number of people attending NSPs who have been treated for hepatitis C has increased from 11% to 55%.

As part of this report researchers have also monitored the impact of the new treatments on prevalence of hepatitis C. Results show that there are significantly fewer people living with hepatitis C, but also, that the risk of transmitting hepatitis C has more than halved since the introduction of the new treatments.

Read the report>>> CLICK HERE

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