Saturday, July 27, 2013

New South Wales launches Hepatitis awareness campaign

The Lightning Ridge Sexual Health has teamed up with the AMS to present hepatitis health education with sti prevention for the 14-18 year old pupils at Collarenebri school on Friday July 26 to raise awareness of hepatitis and available treatments: this is to aid more people to present at clinic, get tested, seek treatment and help to de stigmatise the infection with in the local communities.

As part of NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week, which runs from July 21 and ends on World  Hepatitis Day on July 28, people living in local health districts of Far West and Western NSW are urged to remember key hepatitis C messages.

2010-11 NSW notifications data shows that Western NSW and Far West LHDs had the second highest and third highest notification rates, respectively, of all geographic based LHDs.

This is part of an overall trend since 2002/03 whereby hepatitis C notification rates for people in outer regional and remote areas of NSW are now higher than for people living in major cities (58.3 per 100,000 in 2010-11 versus 40.9 per 100,000).

There could be a variety of reasons for these results, including greater awareness of  hepatitis C in remote and outer regional areas, more people coming forward for testing or better health staff engagement with people at risk. However, the notifications data also reinforces that people residing in Far West and Western NSW regions need to remember the key hepatitis C prevention measures. The single most important, and single most effective, way to prevent new hepatitis C transmissions is not sharing equipment used to inject drugs. This should be supported by the continuing expansion of Needle and Syringe Programs (NSP)  to ensure all people who need to access sterile injecting equipment can do so. Younger people should also avoid sharing equipment used for tattooing and body piercing, including at ‘backyard’ parties and by friends, because blood-to-blood contact is also possible in these circumstances.


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