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Whadjuk Noongar Country
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Perth, WA 6000

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PO Box 8048
Perth, WA 6849

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Hepatitis C Can’t Wait

Today is World Hepatitis Day.

Hepatitis C Can't Wait

Today is World Hepatitis Day (opens in a new tab). Hepatitis C is a treatable, blood-borne virus that can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis, ranging in severity from a mild illness to a serious, lifelong illness. Thanks to WANADA’s Hepatitis C Capacity Building Project and training offered by Peer Based Harm Reduction WA(opens in a new tab), more of WA’s alcohol and other drug workers are prepared to provide clients with the vital information they need about hepatitis C, testing and treatment.

Peer Based Harm Reduction WA delivered the training as part of WANADA’s Hepatitis C Capacity Building Project, supported by EC Australia(opens in a new tab). The project aimed to identify systems improvement opportunities within the alcohol and other drug service sector and, where possible, implement a routine approach to hepatitis C education, testing and treatment.

Ninety-five alcohol and other drug workers from nine services participated in the training, building their capacity to talk with clients about hepatitis C, testing and new treatments.

“Amazingly positive’ is how Peer Based Harm Reduction WA’s CEO Angela Corry describes the response from alcohol and other drug workers.
“Workers said that it was important for them to hear from a peer perspective what getting tested and treated for Hep C was like,” says Angela. “The training covers broader knowledge of hepatitis C but also gives this peer perspective.”

Consumers and workers may not be aware of how much hepatitis C can impact on day-to-day life.

“Consumers report that they didn’t realise how much having the virus impacted them physically and emotionally and how much better they felt after clearing the virus,” says Angela. “Our trainer is able to share what it’s like to have the virus and be successfully treated.”

The success of WANADA’s Hepatitis C Capacity Building Project has led to funding support from the WA Department of Health’s (opens in a new tab) Sexual Health & Blood Borne Virus Program, Communicable Disease Control Directorate, to commence a second phase in 2022.

Angela says that it is possible for Western Australia to reach the World Health Organization’s goal of eliminating viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

“We need everyone on board and committing to the target,” says Angela. “We don’t have polio because we committed to that goal. It just needs to be part of what people do, not only in our sector but in the broader sector, in homelessness and mental health, part of our everyday work.”

On World Hepatitis Day, and every day, WANADA is encouraging people from across the health and community services to learn more about hepatitis C, who is at risk, and who may benefit from testing and treatment.

Health and community services can access Peer Based Harm Reduction WA’s low-cost training. Please call (08) 9325 8387 for more information. For more information about WANADA’s Hepatitis C Capacity Building Project, please call (08) 6557 9400 or email [email protected].