The Champion #108 - July 2022

This issue:

  1. Observing World Hepatitis Day and NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week 2022
  2. NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022-2025 launched
  3. Partnership is a key to hep B awareness raising
  4. Getting hep C elimination in prisons back on track
  5. Hepatitis NSW conference posters archive
  6. New website presents personal experiences of hep C, treatment and life after cure

Observing World Hepatitis Day and NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week 2022

Observing World Hepatitis Day and NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week 2022Thursday, 28 July will mark World Hepatitis Day 2022, an important opportunity to give visibility to, and raise awareness of, viral hepatitis, as also drive better outcomes for people living with hep B and/or hep C.

While much has been achieved over the past year – through the combined and concerted efforts of community health organisations, clinicians, health departments, and researchers – we all know that there is still much to be done to meet elimination targets in this country.

In NSW, World Hepatitis Day is part of Hepatitis Awareness Week which runs from 25-30 July. The week will include a range of local and state-wide activities, events, and initiatives to improve population outcomes for affected communities. We’ll include a summary of some events in the next edition.

World Hepatitis Day 2022 Event

We are co-hosting an event with Ministry of Health and South-East Sydney Local Health District – which will be held at Sydney Hospital on Thursday, July 28 from 8.30am to 9.30am.

There will be guest speakers, including people with lived experience of hep B and hep C. The event will also launch a new hep B resource from Hepatitis NSW – Write To Be Heard: Hepatitis B Stories from the Chinese and Korean Communities. This tri-lingual book publishes the winning entries from last year’s Hep B Writing Competition in English, Chinese and Korean. We’ll have more information about this personal and deeply heartfelt resource, including how to access it online, in the next edition of The Champion.

HEP CURED CAMPAIGN

Following on from 2021, a key activity this year has been the continued roll out of HEP CURED, a campaign using simple messaging and strong imagery to promote the availability and effectiveness of cures for hep C. The core message of the campaign instils a sense of connection with loved ones, or significant others. HEP CURED was developed in partnership with NUAA and NSW Ministry of Health.

Mobile Mural Two

The HEP CURED Mobile Mural was a huge success as it hit the road earlier this year, travelling to many cities and towns throughout NSW. Visiting Newcastle, Tamworth, Orange, Dubbo, Katoomba, Wollongong, Albury, and many greater Sydney suburbs – to name just a few locations – the mural’s bright, campaign themed artwork raised awareness of hep C treatment and cure. Featuring new artwork (pictured above), Mobile Mural Two (or, MoMu2) will blaze a new path around Sydney, Illawarra, Blue Mountains and beyond for three weeks. It will be appearing at special events but also, most importantly, at clinics where there will be peer supported testing for hep C.

Social Media Kit

To assist people and organisations with social media accounts who would like to raise the online volume about #HEPCURED and #hepC treatment, we have produced an easy to use social media kit. Containing pics and text, for posting to Facebook or Twitter, plus images for email footers, the Kit uses current HEP CURED messaging and imagery.

HEP CURED marketing and resources

Similar to previous years, the campaign will be backed up with an array of resources and public marketing. Posters will be seen in many locations around New South Wales in washrooms and bus shelters. Additionally, our peers will be seen in the striking HEP CURED tees while handing out beanies, caps, concertina info cards (C-cards), pens, flashlights, first aid kits and more cool stuff.

10th Cheryl Burman Award | 2022 | Hepatitis NSW

NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022-2025 launched

NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022-2025 launched

Hepatitis NSW welcomes the launch, by NSW Health, of the new NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022-2025. We appreciated having the opportunity to participate in the consultation process.

The new Strategy comes at a timely moment to create new momentum in the drive to elimination; a drive that has been diminished over the last two years as a result of the redirections of attention and resources to deal with the COVID pandemic. As we learn to live with the pandemic and the changes it has wrought on the way we work and access testing and treatment, we need to regroup and make up for this lost time.

The inclusion of a standalone “Stigma and Discrimination” pillar in the strategy is a significant and welcome development. Stigma and discrimination are major barriers to accessing health services and game changing treatments. It is appropriate that it be given equal billing to the other pillars, to increase visibility of this pervasive issue.

On a note closer to home, we are thrilled that the important role played by peer workers has been recognised in the strategy and can – indeed will – be able to continue in the push to elimination. Hepatitis NSW has developed and maintained strong, well regarded and valued peer promotion program over many years. The inclusion of the peer workforce as a key action area under the “Prevention” pillar is a testament to our efforts in this space to date.

Hepatitis NSW looks forward to working with our partners in the BBV/STI community – Local Health Districts, community organisations, service providers, and the Ministry of Health – to successfully deliver on the Strategy’s goals, targets and actions on the way to elimination in NSW by 2028.

  • Read/download NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2022-2025 >>>CLICK HERE

Partnership is a key to hep B awareness raising

Partnership is a Key to Hepatitis B Awareness Raising

In a community where hep B is common, it is important for every community member to know their hep B status. It is also important for the community – as a whole – to understand that this is not a disease to be embarrassed about and discriminated against.

It is an ambitious but achievable goal. A key to achieving this is partnerships.

Hepatitis NSW works hard to forge partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse communities and groups, to show our commitment to eliminate hep B in the affected communities and reduce stigma. On a Saturday in early June, we participated as a stall holder in a Northern Sydney Chinese Seniors’ Expo. Many in-language factsheets were displayed and distributed. Our hep B speaker – Rachel – was invited to talk to people and helped to break myths and misconceptions. Rachel has been working with Hepatitis NSW for almost a year now and been invited to numerous hep B professional training sessions.

She has the heart, knowledge, and skills, but most importantly her lived experience, to empower people and instil hope and optimism. We had more than one thousand people flow in and out during the day, not just seniors but their family members and carers. We also met other stall holders, discussing potential opportunities to promote each other’s work. 2CR, a big Chinese radio station, were surprised to hear that so many Chinese people were affected by hepatitis B and promptly invited us to give a hep B talk through their channel. The talk is planned to be aired July 25 at 12:30pm on 2CR and we hope this will help raise awareness of hep B.

Hepatitis NSW greatly values our partners: people living with hep B, clinicians, researchers, community organisations, media groups, just to name a few. Without their support we wouldn’t have been able to succeed as much as we have.

Getting hep C elimination in prisons back on track

Getting hep C elimination in prisons back on track

The NSW prison system has previously led the state in providing curative treatments to people living with hep C. Treatment uptake slowed though over the past two years as COVID took hold and became the top public health priority for everyone. There is now a need to refocus our efforts towards the NSW target of elimination by 2028. To this end, the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network relaunched its broad education and testing outside health centres with an event at Mid-North Coast, and Hepatitis NSW was there to help.

Over 270 people in custody at Mid-North Coast Correctional Centre joined in a hep C event during the last week of June. Hepatitis NSW joined Network staff and representatives from NSW Users and Aids Association (NUAA) to educate, encourage and provide dry blood spot (DBS) testing and promote healthy lifestyles. The highlight of the event included speakers with lived experience of hep C. Over 140 people had a DBS test during the two-day event.

The people in custody were grateful for the visit and the opportunity to learn about hep C and to be tested. Guards also appreciated the session, even though they attended multiple sessions during the visit they said they kept learning something new and that it would make their work safer. The Assistant Governor reported that it was the first time they had hosted this kind of health session and saw it as a good opportunity to meet the health needs of people in their centre.

Hepatitis NSW conference posters archive

Hepatitis NSW conference posters archive

Poster presentations have become a major feature of the Australian Viral Hepatitis conference landscape over the last several years. In that time, Hepatitis NSW has produced many detailed posters to inform delegates from across the country about our work and projects.

But why should conference delegates have all the fun? To make these documents available to everyone we have created an archive on our website and uploaded over 30 beautifully designed conference and seminar posters as PDF files.

Dating from 2016 to present, the posters cover a range of topics related to hep C and hep B within affected communities – treatment in prisons, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, stigma and discrimination, peer and clinical partnerships, specialised services and much more.

  • Hepatitis NSW Poster Presentations Archive >>> CLICK HERE

New website presents personal experiences of hep C, treatment and life after cure

New website presents personal experiences of hep C, treatment and life after cure

VitalVoicesOnHepC.org is Australia’s first dedicated website presenting carefully researched personal stories of hep C, treatment and life after cure.

The website has two purposes. Firstly, it aims to support people living with hep C in thinking about and/or having treatment. Secondly, it aims to inform the public about hep C and what can be done about it.

Vitalvoicesonhepc.org sheds light on the stories of people affected by hep C, using original audio, re-enacted video and text clips to present people’s experiences in their own words. What is hepatitis C? How does it feel to be diagnosed with it? What is it like to have treatment and be cured? In addressing these questions, the site informs public discussions of hep C, to counter stigmatising misconceptions, and to promote understanding of living with the virus and its treatment.

Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews, the website presents detailed accounts of hep C, treatment and cure. Also presented are key themes found in the interviews:

  • Living with hep C;
  • Having hep C treatment;
  • Coping with stigma and discrimination;
  • Being cured of hep C; and much more.

Vitalvoicesonhepc.org showcases the lives of people affected by hep C, emphasising their significance, complexity and vitality. The website content is based on qualitative research conducted in Australia by researchers from La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS), in collaboration with the University of New South Wales’s Centre for Social Research in Health, and other partners. The research was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant.

Visit VitalVoicesOnHepC.org >>> CLICK HERE

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