Hepatitis training session

The Hepatitis Prevention Program (HPP) helps people get tested for bloodborne viruses, get treatment and get vaccinated. Our counsellors also provide community education and training on all things hepatitis, including how to refer to the HPP and other community services.

This training session below will cover:

  • What is hepatitis, the risks and health issues
  • How to seek support and treatment
  • How to prevent transmission.

The session will take around 45 minutes to complete. There is a short, comprehensive quiz at the end. Once completed, you will receive a Certificate of Attainment by email.

What is hepatitis?

  • Definition

    Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver.

    When the liver is damaged by viruses, alcohol, drugs or over-consumption of other toxins, people can develop hepatitis. In less common cases, people can get hepatitis because their immune system stops working properly.

  • 5 types of viral hepatitis

    There are 5 viruses known to infect and inflame the liver.

    These are hepatitis A, B, C, D and E. The symptoms of all five viruses can be similar. The main difference is the way they are transmitted and the effects they have on people’s health.

    The 2 most common types of liver inflammation are hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

    • Hepatitis B (HBV) is a bloodborne virus and can be sexually transmitted. There is a safe and effective vaccine to protect you against hepatitis B. You can get treatment to manage chronic hep B but not cure it.
    • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a bloodborne virus. Without treatment, hepatitis C can cause liver disease and liver cancer. However, Hep C is more than 95% curable.

    According to Hepatitis Australia, approximately 356,655 Australians are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know they have hepatitis.

    Other types of viral hepatitis are:

    • Hepatitis A (HAV) is most often spread when a person consumes food or drink contaminated by very small particles of infected faeces (poo). This is usually due to poor sanitation or when hands are not washed thoroughly. It can have serious (but short-lived) symptoms and people generally recover fully.
    • Hepatitis D (HDV) is caused by the hepatitis delta virus and only affects people who already have hepatitis B. Hepatitis D can make hepatitis B worse, leading to a greater likelihood of liver failure, rapid progression to liver cirrhosis, and greater risk of developing liver cancer. Transmission of hepatitis D can occur either via simultaneous infection with hepatitis B (co-infection) or superimposed on chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis B carriers (superinfection).
    • Hepatitis E (HEV) is similar to hepatitis A. It is most often spread when a person consumes food or drink contaminated by very small particles of infected faeces (poo). It can have serious (but short-lived) symptoms and people generally recover fully. It is extremely rare in Australia.
  • Common ways to get hepatitis

    This animated cartoon by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows common ways you can get hepatitis and safe practices to avoid it.

Maintaining a healthy liver

  • What does the liver do?

    Let’s begin by finding your liver. Place your hand on the right-hand side of your abdomen, just below your diaphragm. It is just there, behind your ribs — the largest organ inside your body. It’s about the size of a rugby ball and weighs around 1.5 kilograms.

    The liver is responsible for helping with these essential functions:

    • Digestion, by releasing bile to break down food
    • Metabolism, by making, storing and releasing sugars and fats
    • Immunity, by clearing the blood of waste products, hormones, drugs and other toxins
    • Storage, by storing then releasing vitamins, minerals and iron to the body where needed.

    Perhaps most ingenious of all, the liver is the only organ able to regenerate itself by creating new tissue. So it can still cope with doing all of the above even if it is diseased, just not as efficiently.

  • Liver health

    To maintain a healthy liver it is important to:

    • Eat healthily – a dietician can help you create a healthy eating regime
    • Avoid alcohol and minimise drug use – an alcohol and other drug (AOD) service can help
    • Get good sleep and exercise
    • Stay hydrated
    • Stay informed – know your hep C status by having regular check-ups with your GP.
  • Effects of hepatitis on the liver

    Hepatitis can be acute or chronic.

    • Acute hepatitis means the virus might make people sick for a short time, but then they will recover. Some people may experience symptoms, but most people don’t get seriously ill during acute hepatitis infection and recover from this illness within a few weeks with no lasting effects.
    • Chronic hepatitis means the virus stays in the liver for a person’s whole life. They may not always feel sick, but over time the virus can damage the liver considerably. As more liver cells are damaged and destroyed, scar tissue takes their place. This is called fibrosis. Severe fibrosis can cause the liver to harden, preventing it from functioning as it should. This is called cirrhosis of the liver. In a small number of cases, serious damage to the liver can lead to liver failure and, ultimately, liver cancer.
  • Liver check-ups

    Liver check-ups are easy, painless and could save your life.

    Without treatment, both hepatitis B and hepatitis C risk causing cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. Even if people feel well, they may need testing and treatment if in a high-risk group.

    A liver check-up usually starts with blood tests to measure how well the liver is working. The test result enables GPs or specialists to decide the most effective treatment to slow down and reverse liver damage. Check-ups may be necessary every 3, 6 or 12 months.

    The video below highlights the importance of regular check-ups, what’s involved, and getting a FibroScan or a liver ultrasound.

Viral hepatitis A

Hepatitis A can have serious (but short-lived) symptoms and people generally make a full recovery.

  • Transmission

    Like hepatitis B and C, hepatitis A is a virus that affects the liver. However, unlike hepatitis B and C, it is transmitted by faecal-oral transmission.

    Some of the ways this can happen are:

    • An infected person preparing food without washing their hands thoroughly
    • Water being contaminated by sewage or not properly treated
    • Sexual contact with an infected person, particularly oral or anal sex.
  • Who is most at risk?

    Hepatitis A is not common in Australia; however, small outbreaks occasionally occur.

    Remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with less access to clean water and sanitation are at higher risk. Also when travelling overseas, there is a much higher risk of getting hepatitis A if you are visiting a developing country with less access to clean water or sanitation.

    There is a vaccine to protect against hepatitis A.

    Not everyone who gets hepatitis A will experience symptoms, especially children under 5 years old. Symptoms can last for several weeks, but most people fully recover and will develop HAV antibodies.

    Hepatitis A is very contagious, so if someone has it, they should stay away from child care, school, work or other places where they could spread the infection. A doctor can test to see when the infection has passed.

  • Blood tests to diagnose hepatitis A

    The blood test looks for 2 different types of antibodies to the virus:

    • Immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies – produced by the immune system 5 to 10 days before symptoms appear and usually disappear within 6 months.
    • IgG antibodies – replace IgM antibodies and protect against future hepatitis A (HAV) infection.

    If the test is positive for IgM antibodies and negative for IgG antibodies, hep A infection most likely took place within the past 6 months. The hep A is either in the process of being cleared by the immune system or it is getting worse.

    If the test is negative for IgM antibodies and positive for IgG antibodies, either the person was infected with hep A at some time in the past or has been vaccinated against hepatitis A. In either case, they are now immune to the virus.

Viral hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is the most common liver virus in the world.

  • Transmission

    Hepatitis B can be transmitted through:

    • Semen, vaginal fluid and blood
    • Sexual contact
    • Sharing of injecting equipment
    • Birth, from mum to baby
    • Tattooing, body piercing or medical procedures with unsterile equipment
    • Sharing of toothbrushes, razors or nail files
    • Uncovered cuts or sores.

    The most common time people get hepatitis B is early in life. If women are pregnant and have hepatitis B, the baby should get an injection within 12 hours of being born. This injection contains the first dose of vaccine, as well as hepatitis B antibodies that help the immune system to fight the virus. This injection, together with the rest of the vaccine course, is very effective at protecting the baby against hepatitis B.

    People can get treatment to manage chronic hepatitis B but not to cure it.

    Hepatitis B can not be transmitted through:

    • Saliva
    • Hugging or kissing
    • Sharing food or eating utensils
    • Eating food prepared by someone with hep B
    • Insect or animal bites, including mosquitos
    • Sharing bathrooms, showers or toilets
    • Coughing or sneezing.
  • What happens if someone gets hepatitis B?

    Many people with hepatitis B have no symptoms. It’s important to get regular liver check-ups, even if people don’t feel sick.

    If someone gets hepatitis B, the body’s immune system will try and fight the virus. There are 2 possible outcomes: people can either get an acute or chronic illness.

    • Acute hepatitis B means the virus causes sickness for a short time but then people will recover. Some people with acute hep B naturally clear the virus. If the virus stays in the liver for more than 6 months, then the disease progression is classed as chronic hepatitis B.
    • Chronic hepatitis B means the virus stays in the liver for the whole of a person’s life. People may not always feel sick, but over time the virus can destroy the liver and cause cirrhosis.
  • Acute hepatitis B symptoms

    Most children don’t get symptoms from acute hepatitis B, but are much more likely than adults to develop chronic hepatitis B.

    Among adults, the symptoms for acute hepatitis B can include:

    • Loss of appetite (which means not feeling hungry)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Tiredness
    • Abdominal (or belly) pain
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Yellowish eyes and skin (also known as jaundice)
    • Dark urine and pale coloured poo.

    If people have acute hepatitis B, the symptoms might not be very bad and may not last very long. Only a small number of people with acute hepatitis B become sick enough to recognise the symptoms. If they do become very sick, they should see a doctor straight away because it can be life threatening.

  • Chronic hepatitis B symptoms

    Many people with chronic hepatitis B do not experience any symptoms. If they do have symptoms, they could include:

    • Tiredness, depression and irritability
    • Pain in the liver (which is the upper, right side of your belly)
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Loss of appetite
    • Aches and pains in joints.

    Over time, some of the things that can happen to the liver are:

    • Liver damage (sometimes called fibrosis)where the liver becomes hard and does not work as well
    • Cirrhosis, which means the liver damage has got worse and there’s a lot of scarring on the liver
    • Liver failure, which means the liver stops working
    • Liver cancer.

    The table below shows what is likely to happen to babies and children if they get hepatitis B.

    Age Acute Hep B Chronic Hep B
    Infant (<1 year) Most will not develop any symptoms 90% will get chronic hep B unless given prophylaxis injection and vaccine at birth
    Child (1 to 6 years) Most will not develop any symptoms 30% will get chronic hep B
    Child (>6 years) and adolescent Most will develop symptoms Less than 5% will get  chronic hep B
  • Who is most at risk?

    People who are recommended to get the hepatitis B vaccine according to the Australian Immunisation Handbook (ATAGI 2018):

    • Infants, children and adolescents
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    • People who are immunocompromised, including:

    people living with HIV
    dialysis patients and people with severely impaired kidney function
    people about to receive an organ transplant
    people who have received a stem cell transplant

    • People with other medical conditions, including:

    people with chronic liver disease and/or hepatitis C
    people who receive certain blood products
    people with developmental disabilities who attend day-care facilities

    • People who are at risk because of their job, including:

    people who work in any occupation that involves direct patient care, handling human tissue, blood or bodily fluids, or used needle and syringes
    healthcare workers
    police, members of the armed forces, emergency services staff, and correctional facilities staff
    funeral workers, embalmers
    staff involved in the care of people with developmental disabilities
    workers who perform skin penetrating procedures, such as tattooists and body piercers

    • People travelling to countries with higher levels of hepatitis B
    • Other groups:

    household or other close contacts of people living with hepatitis B
    sexual contacts of people living with hepatitis B
    men who have sex with men
    migrants from countries with higher levels of hepatitis B
    people who inject drugs
    inmates in correctional facilities
    sex industry workers.

  • Blood tests to diagnose hepatitis B

    Blood tests are used to diagnose hepatitis B. If someone does have the virus, then a GP or specialist may do other tests to check if the liver has been damaged. Tests for hepatitis B are not part of regular blood tests – people have to ask for them.

    The table below lists the type of blood tests GPs will use to test for hepatitis B, and what it means if the result is positive.

    To understand the tests described below, it might help to know 2 medical terms: antigen and antibody.

    • Antigen is a foreign substance in the body (in this case, the hepatitis B virus).
    • Antibody is a protein made by the immune system to fight the antigen.
    Test What this shows Meaning if positive
    Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) Shows if a person currently has a hep B infection Person currently has hep B, most likely a chronic infection
    Hepatitis B core antibody (Anti-HBc) Shows if a person has previously had a hep B infection Person has previously been exposed to hep B
    Hepatitis B surface antibody (Anti-HBs) Shows if a person is immune to hep B Person can no longer contract hep B

    If a person:

    • Tests negative for these tests, they should ask their GP about getting the hep B vaccination
    • Has previously had hep B, their family and people they live with should be tested for hep B
    • Currently has hep B, they should follow up with their GP for regular monitoring.

Quiz Time

Let's find out if what you think you know, is right!
What's the risk? Can you get hepatitis C from... (Please answer all questions with true or false.)

Viral hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is usually spread when a person comes into contact with blood from an infected person.

  • Transmission

    Hepatitis C can be transmitted through:

    • Sharing needles and injecting equipment
    • Tattooing, body piercing or medical procedures with unsterilised equipment
    • Sharing toothbrushes, razors or nail files
    • Childbirth – there is a 5% chance that a baby can contract hep C from their mum during childbirth.
  • What happens if someone gets hepatitis C?

    Hepatitis C can lead to chronic illness in 75% of people exposed.

    If someone does get hepatitis C, the body’s immune system will try and fight the virus. There are 2 possible outcomes: people can either get an acute or chronic illness.

    • Acute hepatitis C means the virus might make people sick for a short time but they will improve. About 25% of people only get acute hepatitis C because their body manages to clear the virus. However, if the virus stays in the liver for more than 6 months, then it will develop into chronic hepatitis C.
    • Chronic hepatitis C means the virus stays in the liver for the whole of a person’s life unless they get cured. People may not always feel sick, but the virus will continue to cause problems for the liver.

    There is no vaccine for hep C; however, people with chronic hepatitis C can be cured with direct-acting antiviral (DSS) medicines. Without treatment, hep C can cause liver disease and cancer.

    New medicines used provide a 97% chance of cure. Other genotypes (strains of the virus) can be more difficult to treat and can require combinations of medicine.

    Note: Cure is defined as having no presence of the virus immediately after therapy and for 12 weeks afterwards.

  • Hepatitis C symptoms

    People with hep C often do not have any symptoms and often dismiss symptoms as just part of getting older.

    If symptoms are present, they can include:

    • Fatigue and sleep problems – Fatigue means feeling very tired and lacking energy even after a full night’s sleep. Sleep problems include difficulty falling asleep, waking up a lot, or sleeping too much (eight hours sleep per night is generally enough for an adult).
    • Aches, pains and fevers – These can come and go and include fever, chills, headaches, tiredness and muscle or joint pain. They usually last for a week or less but can last longer.
    • Mood swings, anxiety and depression – Because hep C can affect the amount of certain chemicals in your body, it can cause mood swings or other neurological symptoms such as anxiety, feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, irritability, lack of interest in usual activities, periods of sadness or brain fog (difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating and expressing words).
    • Feeling sick, poor appetite and indigestion – Hep C can make you feel sick in the stomach (nausea), which can then affect your appetite. Although there is usually no vomiting, it can be very uncomfortable.
    • Skin rashes and itchy skin – These may come and go and include itchiness, blisters, white spots, tightened skin, spider web patterns and purple patches.
    • Dry eyes – This can be due to inflammation of the glands that produce tears.
    • Dry mouth and mouth ulcers – These symptoms can lead to bad breath, tooth decay, cracked lips, sore mouth and throat. The person may also have difficulty eating, swallowing and tooth sensitivity.
    • Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin dependent) is more common among people with hep C than the general population. It can lead to nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease, eye disorders, stroke and serious skin ulcers.
    • Jaundice – Which usually occurs are the start and end of hep C.
    • Other symptoms – There are also other, less common symptoms that can occur, including blood, kidney and skin conditions, and disorders of the lymph and nervous systems.

    Things to consider

    Gender, health history, eating habits, lifestyle, age, stress levels, and alcohol and other drug intake (whether prescribed or illicit) can also affect how you experience living with hep C. Some people don’t get any symptoms.

  • Blood tests to diagnose hepatitis C

    The only way to know if someone has hep C is to have a blood test.

    Tests for hepatitis C are not part of regular blood tests – people have to ask, but they are free for people with a Medicare card.

    The table below lists the type of blood tests GPs will order to test for hepatitis C and what it means if the result is positive.

    Test What this shows Meaning if positive
    Hepatitis C antibody test Shows if a person has been exposed to the hep C virus Person has previously been exposed to hep C or they have it now
    Hepatitis C RNA test Shows if a person currently has hep C Person currently has the hep C virus. They will need to talk to their GP about getting cured

    Hep C Antibody Test

    If someone has previously had hep C, including if they’ve been cured, they will always have hep C antibodies.

    People do not need to have another antibody test if they have previously tested positive to hepatitis C antibodies. Having hep C antibodies does not necessarily mean people currently have hepatitis C, and the antibodies do not protect them from getting hep C again.

    It can take up to 12 weeks from the time hepatitis C enters someone’s blood until the body starts producing hepatitis C antibodies. So, people may need to have another test if they have caught hep C recently. At some point, about 25% of people who develop hepatitis C antibodies in response to infection clear the virus.

    If people test positive for hepatitis C antibodies, they will need to have an RNA test. Some doctors order this at the same time as the antibody test by asking the pathology to do an RNA test if the antibody test is positive.

    Hep C RNA test

    The RNA test will confirm whether someone currently has the hepatitis C virus. The information is used to help decide their treatment, particularly in regard to genotype 1.

    Test What this shows
    PCR genotype test There are 6 genetic groups known as genotypes. The PCR genotype test looks for the virus and the particular genotype (strain) of hepatitis a person has. Knowing the genotype can help the doctor to work out which treatment will be most effective.
    Liver function test This blood test checks liver function. A damaged liver releases enzymes into the bloodstream where they can be detected. This measures the amount of enzymes in the blood to check if the liver is damaged. Damage may be due to hep C or a range of other things, including alcohol and some drugs.
  • Disease progression

    If 100 people are infected, about 25% will clear the virus completely in 2 to 6 months, but will continue to have hep C antibodies in their blood.

    The remaining 75 people who do not clear the virus will develop ongoing or chronic infection and are at risk of developing cirrhosis of the liver.

    Of these people who develop chronic hepatitis, about 20 people will not experience any noticeable illness or symptoms.

    After an average of 15 years, some people with chronic hepatitis C will experience some symptoms and may develop some liver damage.

    After 20 years, 5 to 10 people with liver damage will develop cirrhosis and liver cancer. Between 2 and 5 of these people will experience liver failure or develop a form of liver cancer.

    The likelihood that a person will develop cirrhosis and/or liver cancer is most affected by the duration of the infection. However, other factors can affect these risk levels:

    • Person’s age when first infected – people over the age of 40 experience faster disease progression
    • Gender – males are at higher risk
    • Alcohol use
    • Co-infection with hepatitis B and/or HIV
    • Obesity.
  • Treatment

    Where can people get treatment?

    There are new DAA medicines that cure hepatitis C. DAA stands for direct-acting antivirals. GPs can now prescribe the new DAA medicines, but they may ask for advice from a specialist if they do not have a lot of experience treating hepatitis C.

    In some cases, people will need to see a specialist to get treatment because of other health problems.

    GPs may refer to a specialist if people:

    • Also have another blood borne virus, such as hepatitis B or HIV
    • Have previously had failed DAA treatment for hep C
    • Have end stage renal (kidney) disease
    • Have cirrhosis (severe liver scarring).

    Who can get cured?

    Anyone over the age of 15 with a Medicare card can get the medicines at low cost. People shouldn’t take DAA medicines if they’re pregnant.

    How will people know if they have been cured?

    Treatment is now more than 97% effective at curing hepatitis C.

    Being cured of hepatitis C means that treatment has worked, and people no longer have the hepatitis C virus. To check this, a doctor will order an RNA test 12 weeks after treatment and if the results show ‘virus undetectable’ (no virus) this means that it has been cured. It is important to have this final test and not assume people are cured until the results confirm it.

    If the hep C is not cured, the doctor may recommend a second course of treatment, usually with different medicines.

    Once hep C is cured, the person will always have antibodies. Having hep C antibodies does not mean someone still has hep C – this can only be determined with an RNA test.

    Note: If someone does get hepatitis C again, they can be cured again.

  • Medication

    What medicines are used to cure hepatitis C?

    Drug Clinical Genotypes
    Epclusa® (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Maviret® (glecaprevir+ pibrentasvir) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
    Vosevi®  (sofosbuvir + velpatasvir + voxilaprevir) Only used if previous DAA treatment has failed

    The new treatment is easy to take with as little as one tablet a day, no injections, and most people experience few to no side effects. People will need to take 1 to 3 tablets for 8 to 12 weeks, depending on which medicine is being used. The above DAA medicines are currently used in Australia to cure hep C. Direct-acting antivirals (or DAAs) are very effective for most people who take them.

    How much do the medicines cost?

    The new medicines to cure hep C are available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) to people over the age of 18 who hold an Australian Medicare card. They cost no more than $41 for each script, or less than $7 if people have a concession card.

    In terms of side effects?

    The new DAA medicines have far fewer side effects than the older medicines. Side-effects may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Nausea, but this is uncommon and typically mild.

    Previously only 1% to 2% of people living with hepatitis C were seeking treatment. This number is increasing. Here are the numbers of people getting treated:

    • March to July 2017 – over 2,000 people
    • March to July 2018 – over 22,000 people
  • Disclosure

    People are required by law to disclose they have hep C ONLY in the following circumstances:

    • When giving blood, donating organs or bodily fluids
    • Healthcare workers conducting exposure-prone procedures, you may be required to notify your employer
    • Some insurance policies require disclosure
    • If joining the Australian Defence Force.

Viral hepatitis still causes deaths

  • In 2019, there were 1,023 deaths attributed to hep B and 1,078 attributed to hep C.
  • Hepatitis viruses cause more deaths than HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis.

These deaths are preventable now there is a cure available for hep C and treatment available for hep B.

Stigma and discrimination

Discrimination, or fear of discrimination, is a very real thing. Stories from people with hepatitis back this up.

People living with viral hepatitis often experience discrimination as a result of the stigma related to a presumed mode of transmission, such as intravenous drug use.

Stigma is one of the main reasons people avoid monitoring and treatment. Stigma can make people feel ashamed and isolated and damage their self-esteem. This can result in people avoiding getting tested, receiving treatment and support, and can help the virus to spread, driving it underground.

Discrimination on the grounds of viral hepatitis is illegal under Australian law: the Discrimination Act 1992 (Federal) and the Anti-Discrimination Act 1998 (Tasmania).

Useful resources

Hepatitis Australia
hepatitisaustralia.com

A peak community organisation to progress national action on issues of importance to people affected by hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM)
ashm.org.au

An online resource for primary healthcare professionals that supports the prevention, testing, diagnosis, management and treatment of STIs.

Tasmanian User Health and Support League (TUHSL)
0437 280 302
TUHSLTaste@gmail.com

Statewide, peer-based consumer organisation, which strives to improve the health and social circumstances of substance users.

Hepatitis South Australia
hepatitissa.asn.au

A non-profit, community-based organisation that provides information, education and support services to South Australians affected by hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

C Me, Hear Me. Hepatitis C in our own words
ashm.org.au

Personal stories aimed to increase awareness and understanding of hepatitis C, dealing with symptoms, considering and managing treatment, and stigma and discrimination.

TasCAHRD
redthread.org.au

Help for Tasmanians affected by or at risk of BBVs (bloodborne viruses) and STIs (sexually transmissible infections).

National Hepatitis Hotline
1800 437 222

NSP outlets

The Tasmanian Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) is a public health initiative to minimise the spread of bloodborne viruses, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C among injecting drug users and to the wider community.

  • Service providers

    The NSP operates through different service providers. These include:

    • Community health services
    • Community service organisations
    • Neighbourhood and community houses
    • Tasmanian Aboriginal health services
    • Regional hospitals
    • Councils
    • Youth organisations
    • Pharmacies.
  • Primary NSPs

    Primary NSPs provide a wide range of injecting equipment to injecting drug users, and they also:

    • provide health information and education
    • make referrals
    • liaise with local agencies such as police, local government, health, drug treatment and welfare agencies
    • distribute sharps disposal containers, alcohol swabs, pill filters, and sterile water for injection
    • provide services for the appropriate disposal of used injecting equipment.

    There are 7 primary NSPs in Tasmania:

    North West

    North

    South

  • Secondary NSPs

    Secondary NSPs are programs operating in existing organisations, such as community health centres, regional hospitals and community houses. They:

    • distribute fit packs containing 1, 3 and 5ml syringes
    • may provide services for the appropriate disposal of used injecting equipment
    • make referrals.

    There are 17 secondary NSPs in Tasmania:

    North West

    North

    • Cape Barren Community Health Centre, Cape Barren Island (03 6359 3566)
    • Flinders Island Aboriginal Association, Lady Barron (03 6359 3532)
    • Flinders Island Multi-Purpose Centre, Flinders Island (03 6359 0200)
    • Ravenswood Community Health Centre, Ravenswood (03 6777 3006)
    • St Helens District Hospital, St Helens (03 6376 5222)
    • Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Launceston (03 6332 3800)

    South 

    • Jordan River Services – Gagebrook Community Centre, Gagebrook (03 6263 6097)
    • Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Hobart (03 6234 0777)
    • Tasmanian Council on Aids, Hepatitis and Related Diseases, Hobart (03 6234 1242)
    • The Link, Hobart (03 6231 2927)
  • Vending machines

    Vending machines provide fit packs containing 1, 3 and 5ml syringes for a fee.

    There are 4 vending machines in Tasmania:

    North West

    • 40-48 Best Street, Devonport – Ground level, Multi-level carpark

    North

    • Salvation Army, 111 Elizabeth Street, Launceston
    • Youngtown Pharmacy, 369 Hobart Road, Youngtown

    South

    • Anglicare Tasmania, 18 Watchorn Street, Hobart

Hepatitis prevention program

HPP provides information, education and support to Tasmanians at risk of or living with hepatitis B and C.

  • Program

    The HPP is delivered for free, statewide for anyone over the age of 18 years.

    The program aims to:

    • Promote and facilitate access to testing for bloodborne viruses (with a focus on hepatitis B and hepatitis C)
    • Provide support to people to enable them to start and complete their hepatitis B and hepatitis C treatment
    • Prevent transmission of hepatitis B and hepatitis C (including reinfection with hepatitis C in people who are cured)
    • Promote and facilitate access to hepatitis B and C vaccination
    • Provide community education and information.
  • Support

    The HPP provides services to reduce viral hepatitis in Tasmania. Our service includes both emotional and practical support:

    Emotional

    • Case management and support for people undergoing testing and treatment – Including working with existing services and providing progress reports as required.
    • Initial support to access treatment – Including liaising with hepatology clinic to ensure access to appointments and arrangement of appropriate follow-up and monitoring.
    • Psychological resources to ensure access to treatment – Treatment information, support to maintain healthy lifestyle including healthy eating, avoidance of alcohol, minimising drug use, promoting sleep and exercise, hydration, keeping informed, and knowing about hep C.
    • Referral to other supports as needed – Hospital peer support group.

    Practical

    • NSP equipment and information – Located at Anglicare Tas Burnie, Glenorchy and Hobart.
    • Physical resources, including medication, to ensure access to and continuation of treatment is not jeopardised by issues relating to limited capacity – Purchase of medication, transport to and from appointments either via a worker or funded transport, and financial support only where not doing so presents a risk to discontinuation of treatment.
    • Support to attend appointments, outreach visits, phone support and information – This includes transport to and from blood test and sitting in with appointments.
  • Accessing supports

    The Hepatitis Care and Support Service is available to clients primarily referred by Hepatology Clinics statewide. You can also ask your local GP for a referral or contact us directly at connectsupport@anglicare-tas.org.au and a worker can support you through the process.

    To find out more, please call us on 1800 243 232

  • Why refer to the HPP

    Look for risk factors for hep C:

    • People with a history of injecting drug use
    • People who are or have ever been incarcerated
    • Recipients of organs, tissues, blood or blood products before February 1990 in Australia
    • People with tattoos or skin piercings
    • People born in countries with high HCV prevalence
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
    • Sexual partners of people with HCV
    • Children born to HCV-positive mothers
    • Men who have sex with men.

    High-risk clients:

    • Have injected drugs
    • Have been in prison
    • Had organs, tissues, blood or blood products before February 1990 in Australia
    • Got a tattoo or skin piercing
    • Were born in countries with high HCV prevalence
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations
    • Sexual partners of people with HCV.
  • Other supports

    Community education

    • General service availability information, advice and referral
    • Physical resources around hepatitis treatment, management and prevention.

    Training

    • Presentations focusing on hepatitis causes, effects, disease progression, risks, stigma and discrimination, disclosure and statistics (tailored to your organisation/audience)
    • NSP equipment and information including safe use, proper injecting techniques etc.

Take the quiz

Are you ready to take the Hepatitis Prevention Program quiz? Put your memory to the test and see if you can pass!
Please tick all answers that apply. Once you've successfully completed the quiz we will send you a certificate of attainment.

If you would like to provide direct feedback about this training session, we encourage you to complete our online survey here!