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C The Person on World Hepatitis Day

Monday, 28 July 2014

Hepatitis C (or hep C) is the most common blood-borne virus in Australia. There are 230,000 people in Australia living with chronic hepatitis C.

Today, on World Hepatitis Day, HepatitisWA launches its new 'C the Person, not the disease' campaign.
HepatitisWA's aim is to raise awareness of hepatitis C, with a view to increasing access to testing, treatment and care.

About Hepatitis C

For hepatitis C infection to happen, the blood of someone with hep C has to enter someone else’s bloodstream. This could happen when equipment for injecting, piercing or tattooing is shared.

In Australia, there are almost ten times as many people living with hep C as are living with HIV, another blood-borne virus. This is despite the fact that Hep C is not generally transmitted sexually.

Over time, hepatitis C causes damage to the liver. Access to testing, treatment and support is essential if we are to reduce the impact of hepatitis C in our community.

Stigma and Discrimination A Barrier To Health Care

Studies have shown that people living with hepatitis C face discrimination which can act as a barrier to accessing treatment and making healthy lifestyle changes. Many people living with hepatitis C are reluctant to disclose their status due to stigma and discrimination.

Health Professionals Take The Pledge To Break Down Barriers

HepatitisWA has acknowledged the dedication and high quality services provided by many health care workers.

HepatitisWA is calling out to WA-based general practitioners and allied health professionals to become advocates for the C The Person Not The Disease campaign.

Health professionals can show their commitment to the campaign by making a pledge that will effectively help reduce stigma and discrimination to those affected by hepatitis C.

For more information on hepatitis C or the campaign, please visit www.ctheperson.com.au

Videos Bring Alcohol and other Drug Treatment to Life

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Alcohol and other drug services are taking advantage of new technologies to raise awareness about alcohol and other drug issues and where to find support and information when you need it.

Says Shonna Grant, Manager Residential Services at Cyrenian House, "The use of music, graphics and voice can convey a lot of information in a short space of time. A wall of text is not particularly inviting or engaging to a lot of people."

"Excessive consumption of alcohol by young people is an alarming social issue," says Holyoake's Business Development & Marketing Manager Mario Gomes. "Keen to communicate the message of self-responsibility, Holyoake felt that videos were a relevant and dynamic medium to achieve this."

What Are The Advantages?

"Information can be presented in interesting and creative ways," says Shonna. "The app we use for our videos is free, easy to use, and effectively gets the message across without a huge financial outlay."

Cyrenian House has produced a series of videos for its website that provide information about its programs, family inclusive practice and its commitment to welcoming people from diverse backgrounds, including Aboriginal people.

Strength in Diversity (Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex consumers at the Rick Hammersley Centre) involved residents at the Rick Hammersley Centre Therapeutic Community in the production.

"The Strength in Diversity video was a great way to foster consumer participation," says Shonna. "Creating the video was also therapeutic and affirming."

Mario says that Holyoake could see the benefits of sharing information through social media.

"It's an effective way to communicate with young people," he says. "Video links can be easily promoted via emails, websites and social platforms, so it's an economical way to communicate messages."

Feedback So Far...

"Very positive," says Mario. "Scores of people have viewed these videos on our website and Youtube."

Says Shonna, "We've only had them up for a couple of weeks but the response so far has been very positive."

Where To Find More

Do you have a video that raises awareness about alcohol and other drug issues? Let us know and we may feature it in a future Green Book Blog post.

Stigma Research Uncovers Need for Education

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

People who work in the alcohol and other drug sector say its time to make alcohol and other drug treatment more visible to the wider community, according to research commissioned by the WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA).

Funded by the Drug and Alcohol Office and managed by Marketing for Change, the project will inform evidence based approaches to reducing stigma associated with alcohol and other drug-related problems.

"Alcohol and other drug problems are a serious health concern," says WANADA CEO Jill Rundle. "People need to be able to access health services and support without fear of stigma or discrmination."

WANADA commissioned Colmar Brunton Social Research to identify the types of stigma experienced by AOD users in the WA community. As part of the research, Colmar Brunton surveyed 427 community members about attitudes towards people who experience alcohol and other drug problems.

Alcohol and other Drug-Related Problems in the WA Community

The survey found that many Western Australians know someone with personal experience of problems related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD). 

"Of the community members surveyed, 10% knew somebody who was currently experiencing problems with alcohol," reports WA Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies (WANADA) Organisation Development Manager Jane Harwood.

"Six percent of respondents knew somebody who was currently experiencing problems with drugs," says Jane.

"While many people know someone who is currently experiencing alcohol or other drug related problems, there are still many others who have little experience of this health condition," says Jill Rundle. "Their ideas are more likely to be based on what they've learnt from popular culture than on the facts."

What Are The Myths?

Alcohol and other drug service workers and consumers participated in focus groups as part of the research and believe that change is needed.

When asked to identify the issues, alcohol and other drug workers reported a need to debunk stereotypes. The research found that,

"Sector workers feel that they see a wide range of people, and there is no specific type of person who may have problems related to alcohol or other drug use."

Workers reported that greater visibility of the different types of people would undermine assumptions.

Education Needed

All focus group participants felt that the stigma surrounding problems associated with alcohol and other drug use is based on ignorance.

"Both workers and consumers felt that to reduce stigma, education is needed at all levels," says Luke van der Beeke, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Marketing for Change. "Consumers felt that efforts to address negative stigma should be informed by people who have direct experience."

Future Work

While the research shows that stigma associated with alcohol and other drug problems is high, it has also provided direction on what to do next. WANADA will continue to keep the sector and the community informed of its progress and welcomes your comments.


The Green Book Blog is a project of WANADA

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