Stigma-sensitive practice in hepatitis C and HIV testing

Earlier in 2021, GLaD program researcher Emily Lenton led an article reporting on this work, titled ‘Upscaling HIV and hepatitis C testing in primary healthcare settings: Stigma-sensitive practice’ in the Australian Journal of Public Health.The article was co-authored with Jen Johnson, previously of the BBV Sector Development Program, and Dr Graham Brown. This article focuses on how healthcare settings can support the goal of upscaling HIV and hepatitis C testing in a way that delivers safe and stigma-free testing encounters.

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#HepCantWait, but the legacy effect of stigma and discrimination ‘doesn’t just go away’

Since late 2019, COVID-19 has been the global health crisis absorbing much of our attention. Efforts to respond to it, including the redeployment of people and resources, have necessarily had impacts on other public health programs and pandemics. The World Health Organization’s ambitious goal to eliminate hepatitis C by 2030 is one program that has been slowed and, in some places, stopped in its tracks by COVID-19.

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Life after cure – preliminary findings from the post-cure project

What does life look like for people after they have cleared hepatitis C? Do people whose blood shows no detectable amount of the hepatitis C virus need to inform their doctor or dentist about their previous hepatitis C status? What about prospective employers or insurance providers? Does hepatitis C–related stigma and discrimination remain a challenge for people post-cure? In what ways, and in what settings?

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Hepatitis C cure and ongoing challenges in post-cure lives

Australia is spending billions on the universal rollout of direct-acting antiviral drugs (DAAs) as part of its ambitious goal of achieving virtual elimination of hepatitis C by 2030. These ‘revolutionary’, ‘transformative’ drugs can bring about a sustained virological response – that is, a cure – for hepatitis C in over 90 percent of people treated. They are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for all Australians who are covered by Medicare.

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Hepatitis C from disability to cure – preliminary findings from ‘speculative legal mapping’

As Australia works towards its ambitious target of reducing hepatitis C stigma by 50% by 2022, it is necessary to investigate and understand the issues that continue to affect people who have – and have been treated for – hepatitis C. One significant example of such issues is the set of laws and policies devised in a pre-cure world that have yet to be reformed since the advent of curative treatments. Do people who had hepatitis C need to disclose this to insurers or prospective employers? And could you be refused employment or insurance on such a basis? Does the fact you once had hepatitis C need to be retained in your medical records? There are literally dozens of questions like these to be asked.

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Beyond a post-cure world

We are excited to announce the publication of the first article from the project, ‘Addressing hepatitis C-related legal, policy and practice discrimination in a post-cure world’.

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