Anglicare’s BBVAware program supports people who have, or who are at risk of contracting, blood-borne viruses (BBVs).
What is a BBV?
A BBV is a virus that is transmitted from one person to another through blood or body fluids that contain blood. This includes sexual activity, sharing of needles or other injecting equipment, blood transfusions before 1990 and body art such as tattoos and piercings using unsterile equipment.
The most common form of BBVs in Australia are Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
The program provides education sessions to frontline staff and resources and referral assistance to individuals and their support networks.
Visit this webpage to find out six ways to prevent the spread of BBVs.
HIV and AIDS
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This virus attacks the body’s own immune system.
Not all people who have HIV will develop AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS occurs when a person’s immune system is severely damaged by HIV.
Today a HIV positive person who is on effective treatment can live as long and as healthy a life as a person who does not have HIV. Treatments can also reduce a person’s viral load to the point where the virus is not detected in the body and therefore not able to be transmitted to other people.
Check this webpage from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations to find out more about living with HIV.
Hepatitis B and C
Hepatitis B and C damage a person’s liver. Everyone experiences Hepatitis differently. Many people don’t experience any symptoms at all, which is why getting tested is so important, especially for people that are considered at high risk.
Check the Hepatitis Australia website for symptoms associated with Hep B and Hep C.
Testing and treatment
It’s important to remember that the only way to confirm whether you have Hep B or C or not, is to be tested. The earlier you seek treatment the better.
Anglicare’s BBVAware Program can assist you to navigate the testing process and provide information about treatment.
You will be tested and treated via the Tasmanian Government’s Sexual Health Service. Again, it’s free and confidential.
There have been huge advances in the treatment of Hep C. Usually you will need to take just one tablet a day for 12-weeks to eliminate hepatitis from your body.
Do you inject drugs? The NSP can support you.
Injecting drugs is a risk factor for developing a BBV. We recommend that you get to know your nearest Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) team.
The Needle and Syringe Program is a free service provided through the Department of Health (Tasmania).
It is offered at Anglicare office locations in Burnie, Glenorchy and Hobart. The Salvation Army runs the NSP in Launceston, Youth Family and Community Connections offers it in Devonport, the Bridgewater Community Centre offers NSP in Bridgewater and the Clarence Integrated Care Centre offers it in Rosny.
You can drop in to an NSP outlet to collect injecting equipment and dispose of used equipment. You’ll find the staff members friendly, knowledgeable and non-judgemental. Their priority is to support you to stay safe and healthy.
You can also access facilities and support at selected community houses, community centres and smaller hospitals around the State including on Flinders and King Islands.
Community education sessions
Anglicare can provide your school, community group or business with a BBV education session.
Scroll down this webpage to request a session from one of our trained professionals.
If you are a health or community professional working with people at risk of developing a BBV, Anglicare can provide you with stocks of our BBVAware Pack (pictured above). Call us on 1800 243 232 to order your supplies.
Call us on 1800 243 232 and ask to speak with a member of our BBVAware team
Email us at BBVAware@anglicare-tas.org.au
World Hepatitis Day is 28 July every year.