Around 170,000 Australians are living with chronic hepatitis C infection.
Many Australians do not know they are infected, or that they could be cured. These people are at risk of developing liver damage, cirrhosis, and liver cancer. Some people will require liver transplants, and many will not survive.
They are also at risk of transmitting the virus onto others.
The consequences of hepatitis C in Australia are far-reaching, but they don't need to be.
Hepatitis C is treatable and curable. It's therefore essential that we test and treat as many at-risk people as we can.
It's simple and cheap to be tested, and curative treatments are now listed on Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
HRVic is committed to working with the rest of Australia towards the World Health Organisation's goal of eliminating hepatitis C by 2030.
HRVic have joined forces with the Burnet Institute and EC Australia.
We have developed an approach that involves peer specialists working at strategic clinical services to assist our community to navigate and overcome the barriers to treatment and to access services.
Introducing the PATH program- Peer Assisted Treatment for Hepatitis. and now the PATH-Ex program- an extension of the PATH program.
The aim of PATH-Ex is to ensure that People Who Use Drugs are empowered, informed and supplied with the tools needed to access information, testing and treatment for hep C.
We seek to take advantage of the unique empathy and support that comes only from the peer-to-peer relationship to encourage engagement with health services and ongoing support to jump through the hoops that life can put in our way when undertaking any longer term treatment course.
You can read more about these principles here .
Our PATH workers are outposted in St Kilda, the city and Footscray and the west. During COVID lockdown they are only able to undertake outreach, but as the lockdown end we are hoping to be back to more hours at Access Health, Living Room and cohealth West.