World Hepatitis Day 2015 
ATODA eBulletin - www.atoda.org.au
 

 
 
World Hepatitis Day 2015

Injecting Drug Use & HepatitisAbout WHD / Events / Support Services

 
 

Hepatitis is a significant health concern globally, nationally and in the ACT community, particularly amongst people with a history of injecting drug use. 

Injecting Drug Use and Hepatitis C & B

Hepatitis C and hepatitis B are blood borne viruses and are transmitted when the blood of an infected person enters the bloodstream of another person. Injecting drug use is a major risk factor for the transmission of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the hepatitis B virus (HBV) through sharing injecting equipment and contaminated injecting environments. In addition to unsafe injecting drug use, other risk factors include unsterile tattooing and body piercing, unsterile medical procedures or vaccinations (particularly in countries with high rates of infection), sharing personal grooming equipment such as razors and toothbrushes, and needlestick injuries and accidental exposure to infected blood or blood products. Whilst hepatitis B is also a sexually transmitted infection, the transmission of hepatitis C is rarely associated with sexual activity unless such activity leads to blood-to-blood contact. Perinatal infection (from mother to unborn child) can be a source of hepatitis B transmission.

An estimated 230,000 people were living with the virus in 2012 (The Kirby Institute, 2014). Hepatitis C transmission in Australia occurs primarily through unsafe injecting practices. Indeed, current estimates are that approximately 90% of new infections of hepatitis C in Australia can be attributed to unsafe injecting practices such as the sharing of injecting equipment during illicit drug use.
 
While this evidence highlights the importance of focusing on strategies to prevent the further transmission of hepatitis C among people who inject drugs, the high rates of current infection also emphasise the urgent need to focus on the development of appropriate models of access and service delivery for people with hepatitis C and a history of injecting drug use.
 
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About World Hepatitis Day: 28 July 2015

Each year, the 28th of July is World Hepatitis Day – a World Health Organization endorsed occasion marked to raise awareness and influence real change in disease prevention and management. In Australia and around the world, awareness campaigns are conducted to acknowledge the rising health impacts of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and the importance of action as an investment for future health.
The World Hepatitis Day theme #TimeForAction aims to highlight the simple but positive actions individuals, communities, healthcare providers and governments can take to combat viral hepatitis.
  • With a call to ‘get tested, have a liver check-up, and ask about treatment’, the campaign aims to encourage Australians living with chronic hepatitis to protect their liver health.
  • The campaign also includes a call for governments to increase access to liver health services and new treatments and achieve the targets set in the National Strategies.
  • #TimeForAction invites communities to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with people living with hepatitis to ensure we prevent, test, monitor and treat hepatitis B and hepatitis C at every opportunity.
Get Tested
Almost half a million people in Australia including approximately 7,600 Canberrans are living with hepatitis B or C. Unfortunately, one in six people with hepatitis C (and one in two people with hepatitis B) are undiagnosed. People in higher risk categories should get tested for hepatitis C and/or hepatitis B, including:
  • people who have ever injected drugs
  • people who have been in prison
  • people born in countries with high prevalence of viral hepatitis,
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
Have a Liver Check
More than 1,000 Australians die unnecessarily each year of hepatitis-related liver disease. Rates of liver cancer are rising and expected to double by 2025. Of the almost half a million people living with hepatitis B or C in Australia, approximately 250,000 people are already in the liver danger zone – meaning that they are more likely to progress to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and liver failure, unless they access management or treatment. For people aged over 40 living with hepatitis B or C, having a regular liver check tells you what’s happening with your liver, so you can make informed decisions about managing your health.
 
Ask About Treatment
Antiviral treatment is changing. Effective treatments mean that most people can now manage the hepatitis B virus if they actively monitor their health and seek treatment. New Direct Acting Antiviral treatments for hepatitis C treatments are coming. They cure most people in 12 weeks without injections or side effects. Ask your doctor now about treatment to ensure you are in the best position to take advantage of these new drugs when they are funded by the Australian Government.

For more information: Visit the World Hepatitis Day website, the Hepatitis ACT website, or see the Australia World Hepatitis Day Newsletter 

To download a copy of the World Hepatitis Day poster, click here.

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World Hepatitis Day Events and Activities 


World Hepatitis Day in the ACT

A number of ACT community organisations and ACT Health services are working with Hepatitis ACT to conduct activities and host events for World Hepatitis Day to raise awareness within priority populations. Get involved right now:  
Testing and Monitoring Make Sense Campaign (AIVL Campaign)
 
The Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) have developed a campaign for World Hepatitis Day 2015 based on the idea that people who inject really do need to know their hep C status for a variety of reasons. Knowing their hep C Status allows people to have other tests for genotypes and other assessments while considering their options. The knowledge people gain from these tests make it possible, and can empower them, to find all the information to help them look after their health. Campaign material was developed ‘by users for users’ and aims to be direct and straight to the point by acknowledging the reality of injecting drug use and the difficulties we all face as a result of using proscribed drugs.
 
All of the AIVL World Hepatitis Day Campaign material can be downloaded at http://www.aivl.org.au/stories/world-hepatitis-day/, or contact AIVL on info@aivl.org.au.
 


Hepatitis Australia Events

Hepatitis Australia, in conjunction with its member organisations, will be conducting activities to raise awareness of viral hepatitis and influence positive change for all people affected by viral hepatitis. For the full list of activities across Australia, click here.


Webcast: New hepatitis C treatments - What you need to know

For many years the standard treatment for hepatitis C has been pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Both medicines can cause signi´Čücant side effects. Groundbreaking new direct-acting antiviral treatments are becoming available that will cure 9 out of 10 people of their hepatitis C. To find out what this means for you or the people you support, please attend the New Hepatitis C Treatment – What You Need to Know webcast on 30 July 2015.
 
Date: Thursday, 30th July 2015
Time: 10:30am - 11:30am AEST
Presented by:
  • Prof Greg Dore – Head Viral Hepatitis Clinical Research Program, Kirby Institute, UNSW, and Infectious Diseases Physician, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney
  • Kevin Marriott – A/g CEO Hepatitis Australia
 Register at:     http://www2.redbackconferencing.com.au/HepatitisAustralia_30thJuly2015
 

Addressing the cycle that leads to high rates of viral hepatitis infection in Indigenous Australians

In Hepatitis Awareness Week, @IndigenousX host Heather McCormack will be addressing the cycle that leads to high rates of viral hepatitis infection in Indigenous Australians and sharing materials to support them. She will be using the week to draw attention to the numerous Aboriginal-specific resources developed by hepatitis organisations around the country.
For more information visit http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/27/aboriginal-people-are-disproportionately-affected-by-hepatitis-we-know-why?CMP=soc_3156


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Support Services

A range of referral options are available in the ACT and nationally regarding blood borne virus support and needle and syringe programs. For more information see the descriptions below and the ACT ATOD Services Directory


Needle and Syringe Programs

NSPs are a public health measure, consistent with ACT Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Strategy 2010 –2014 and The National Drug Strategy 2010– 2015’s harm minimisation framework, to reduce the spread of infections such as HIV and hepatitis C & B among people who inject drugs. They provide a range of services that include provision of sterile injecting equipment, education on reducing drug use, health information, and referral to drug treatment, medical care and legal and social services. The injecting equipment provided includes needles and syringes, swabs, vials of sterile water and ‘sharps bins’ for the safe disposal of used needles and syringes (Source: Dolan, K., MacDonald, M., Silins, E. & Topp, l. 2005. Needle and syringe programs: A review of the evidence. Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing).

For a full list of Needle and Syringe Programs in the ACT including primary, secondary and pharmacy outlets see the ACT ATOD Services Directory.


Hepatitis ACT

Hepatitis ACT is the ACT’s community hepatitis organisation. They work to help prevent hepatitis transmission in the community and reduce the impacts for people affected. Hepatitis ACT delivers a comprehensive range of services including hepatitis-related information and education, training and workforce development, health promotion, prevention (needle and syringe program), resource distribution, support, advocacy and referral.
For more information: email info@hepatitisACT.com.au, call (02) 6230 6344 or 1300 301 383, or visit their website.


Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy

Provides a peer based users group run by and for past or current illicit / injecting drug users, including support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through The Connection Program.
For more information: phone (02) 6279 1670 or visit their website


Althea Wellness Centre, DIRECTIONS ACT

Provides primary health care and clinics for people with past or current ATOD issues.
For more information: phone (02) 6122 8080 or visit their website


Canberra Sexual Health Centre

Provides testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, counselling and information on sexual health issues.
For more information: phone (02) 6244 2184 or visit their website


Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT)

Provides clinical sexual and reproductive health services (including testing).
For more information: call (02) 6247 3077 or visit their website

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Contact ATODA:

Phone: (02) 6255 4070
Fax: (02) 6255 4649
Email: info@atoda.org.au
Mail: PO Box 7187,
Watson ACT 2602
Visit: 350 Antill St. Watson

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The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT (ATODA) is the peak body representing the non-government and government alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) sector in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). ATODA seeks to promote health through the prevention and reduction of the harms associated with ATOD. 

Views expressed in the ACT ATOD Sector eBulletin do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. Not all third-party events or information included in the eBulletin are endorsed by the ACT ATOD Sector or the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT. No responsibility is accepted by the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT or the editor for the accuracy of information contained in the eBulletin or the consequences of any person relying upon such information. To contact us please email ebulletin@atoda.org.au or call (02) 6255 4070.