Members of the Blood Borne Virus team earlier this year at one of their pop up clinics.
Hep C curable and easily identified
28 Jul 2021
A new pop-up free screening program makes it easier than ever for anyone to find out if they have Hepatitis C and help bring us all closer to eliminating this curable virus once and for all.
Led by the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD) Blood Borne Virus (BBV) team, the program will pick up infections and treat those who may not know they are living with the virus.
Team Leader, Julie Page believes we are closer to reaching the ultimate goal of eliminating Hepatitis C.
“New, easy-to-take and highly effective medications is making Hepatitis C curable in most cases,” says Ms Page.
“What we’re finding is that people don’t know about cures, or believe them to be ineffective. That’s simply not the case.”
This year the team has been hitting the streets with a simple test to uncover undetected cases of Hepatitis C in the community.
Hepatitis C is a blood borne virus that can affect your liver and if untreated can cause liver disease or cancer.
It is transmitted when blood, even a drop smaller than visible to the eye, from a person living with the virus enters the blood stream of another person.
“We’ve been providing simple finger prick testing to check for the virus. We’ve visited local pharmacies, homeless services, public housing estates and drug and alcohol treatment NGOs,” says Ms Page.
If a person returns a positive result they are offered a choice on how they wish to access follow-up care and treatment.
“They can choose to be managed by the BBV team; be referred to their GP or, if they have complex health needs, can be referred to one of the NBMLHD Liver Clinic sites. Either way treatment is free, easy and life-saving,” says Ms Page.
In NBMLHD over 2000 people are unnecessarily living with Hepatitis C because they either don’t know they have it or they mistakenly believe treatments are still ineffective and difficult to complete.
The NBMLHD Population Health team has developed a quick and easy self-assessment tool to check if you are at risk of Hepatitis C.
This year Hepatitis Awareness Week runs from 26 July, with World Hepatitis Day on 28 July. For more information on testing, treatment, and prevention for Hepatitis C call the Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 803 900 or visit hepc.org.au.