The We need to talk about Hep C campaign aims to encourage testing among high-risk community groups and people aged 40-60, following a new, simpler treatment with a 95% cure rate becoming available on the PBS.
Up to 50,000 Australians don’t know they’ve got hepatitis C, highlighting the issue that many people within the community do not realise they are at risk of contracting it. There are often no symptoms but, left untreated, it can cause cirrhosis, liver damage, cancer and occasionally even death.
The campaign: We need to talk about Hep C
We need to talk about Hep C campaign aims to challenge the community to question their own status when it comes to whether they may have been exposed to hepatitis C without knowing it.
The campaign aims to address the stigma associated with hepatitis C and dispel the perception that hepatitis C is a disease that only affects those who have injected drugs, who have backyard tattoos and piercings or engage in other high-risk behaviours. By doing so it brings hepatitis C into mainstream community awareness and encourages people to get tested.
The campaign targets medical settings and encompasses, out-of-home advertising in medical centres and pharmacies and social media advertising. Printed and electronic campaign materials, such as brochures, posters and factsheets, are available for download for GPs, healthcare providers and community members who are interested in spreading the message about hepatitis C and the new treatment.
Testing is recommended for:
- people who may have undertaken high-risk activities such as:
- injecting drugs
- getting home piercings or backyard tattoos
- engaging in sexual acts or other physical activity that involved blood to blood contact.
- people who have been in prison
- people aged 40-60 (who may have been exposed many years ago without knowing it)
- people who have had a blood transfusion before 1990
- people who have had a medical or dental procedure in the developing world
- anyone who has ever had an abnormal liver test
- immigrants from areas with a high prevalence of hepatitis C. See Global epidemiology of hepatitis C virus infection information provided by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- people born to a mother with hepatitis C.
It is also possible to spread hepatitis C through razors and other personal hygiene equipment.