Champion eNews | September 2021 | 99

This issue:

  1. DBS Testing to be available through Hepatitis NSW
  2. About to start hep C treatment? This free app is for you!
  3. Media outlets provide greatly appreciated support for HEP CURED
  4. Looking for a lockdown activity? Try the Hep C Cure Bootcamp!

DBS Testing to be available through Hepatitis NSW

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

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.

Tx! MAG #38 - DBS edition

About to start hep C treatment? This free app is for you!

Free smart phone app for people about to start hep C treatmentOur Hepatitis NSW Hep Connect program helps people living with hep C to self-manage all the steps of their hep C treatment – from testing to cure. This is done using the Perx Health smart phone app.

The Perx app helps you remember to take your medication daily, as well has reminders for other important health tasks like attending appointments and picking up prescriptions. The app features games, community connection, education, and some exciting challenges. Plus, there are rewards in the form of gift certificates!

If you are about to start hep C treatment, please think about downloading the app and joining 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.

Features of the Perx Health app

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

It’s simple to join!

The app is free and downloads in under a minute. 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.

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

HNSW Cheryl Burman Award 2021 - Nominations now open!Media outlets provide greatly appreciated support for HEP CURED

HEPCURED banners MaroubraTo paraphrase a saying, even the best laid plans can go awry – and, unfortunately, this applied to the carefully made plans for our HEP CURED campaign. Intended as this year’s community level and peer-led effort to spread awareness and uptake of hep C treatment and cure, HEP CURED was hit in late June by the full force of NSW’s COVID outbreak and resulting lockdown.

With the lockdown keeping hundreds of thousands of people from entering public spaces this was a blow to the campaign in terms of visibility and reach. However, not all was lost.

Hepatitis NSW was delighted to receive free, no cost run-on and bonus media from the numerous media partners and outlets who placed and hosted banners, posters, and billboard adverts. We want to send a massive shout-out and thank you to:

  • JC Decaux;
  • Claude Outdoor;
  • Conads;
  • Val Morgan;
  • oOh! Media; and
  • Streetfighter Media.

Also, both City of Sydney and Randwick Council gave a free extension to the street banners in their local government areas. The Randwick Council extension, for example, kept the flag pole banners in the face of the shoppers and beach goers in Maroubra, Matraville, and Coogee. (the Maroubra Beach banners, are shown above, at right).

In total, the goodwill of our media partners is valued at over $109,000 by keeping the campaign in the public domain into September. This doubled the value of this financial year’s current spend. These extensions not only helped offset the audience views lost due to the COVID lockdown, but also demonstrated the goodwill toward Hepatitis NSW and the campaign from our key media booking partners – Enigma Media’s team.

It is a great indicator of a successful campaign, and has extended the campaigns public reach for six months from March through to September.

Give us your hep C testing and treatment feedbackLooking for a lockdown activity? Try the Hep C Cure Bootcamp!

boot-campYes, the COVID lockdown in greater Sydney and New South Wales has been hard yards for many of us. Much more so for some than others. Plenty of people have found themselves at a loose end, with time to do something but not sure what. Well, for those living with hep C – particularly those who have extra time on their hands and who feel like they are up for a personal challenge – have we got an idea for you.

Maybe you have known for some time now that hep C can be cured, but you’ve never really felt like you’ve had the time or inclination to start the (usually) 8 or 12-week treatment path. Well, if you now have the time and/or inclination, here is your chance to cure your hep C before the end of 2021!

Even during COVID lockdown, where movement is restricted, it is still possible to take the steps needed to start testing, treatment and cure. We’ve set it all out in our “patented” Hep C Cure Boot Camp!

Call the Infoline to talk about hep C, and find your local services

The Hepatitis NSW Infoline – 1800 803 990 – is a great way to kick off your boot camp experience. Not only do you get to talk with one of our wonderful, friendly, and knowledgeable Infoline staff completely confidentially – they will also help answer any questions or concerns about treatment you have, and provide you with information on services local to you that will help you start treatment.

Visit our website and/or HEP CURED website

In addition to (or instead of) calling our Infoline, you can visit our main website – hep.org.au – and/or our HEP CURED campaign website – hepC.org.au. Both sites have lots of info on hep C testing, treatment and cure plus they also have a CHAT function that allows you to talk with our Infoline staff without calling.  There’s also an easy to use local services directory.

Order a DBS self-test kit

If you’re unsure of your current hep C status a test will be needed prior to commencing treatment. You might be eligible to apply for a Dried Blood Spot (DBS) Test so you can check from home. This is a simple and private way to check your hep C status. (Please note that follow up blood tests are likely required in the event of a positive result, but it is a simple way to know where you stand to begin).

  • To see if you qualify for a DBS test – and to apply for a kit to be sent to your home address: DBS website >>>CLICK HERE
  • To read more about taking a test at home, check out our easy ready resource Tx! MAG >>> CLICK HERE

Use Telehealth phone calls with a GP or local service

A range of health care providers can now provide telehealth services to patients. These include: general practitioners (GPs); specialists; and nurse practitioners – all of these health providers can help you get the treatment you need.

    • Get a pathology form for hep C testing;
    • Get liver health blood test and/or ultrasounds lined up;
    • Get started on hep C treatment;
    • Get your treatment scripts sent to a chemist near you. Many chemists are delivering medication or have a contactless collection system in place; and/or
    • Get a pathology form to check you cleared hep C.

While some tests will need to be taken in person the process of some consultations, and getting referrals and forms, can at least be done from home over your phone, and covered using Medicare. Once you’ve lined up the prescriptions for your medicine, treatment it is then usually a very straightforward process and will be over in 8 or 12 weeks, with a follow-up blood test required to confirm you have been cured.

All the very best with your Hep C Cure Boot Camp – please let us know how you go! Please call us on 1800 803 990 if you need any help or support.

Subscribe to The Champion

 

Was this page useful?