Hepatitis B stigma and discrimination: Looking for a home

Stream: Stigma 1
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 1.45 pm – 3.00 pm


Chronic hepatitis B is recognised as a national and global health priority with the development of the Australian National Hepatitis B Strategy and the World Health Organisation Global Hepatitis Strategy. While these strategies give hepatitis B an equivalent political status as HIV and hepatitis C, there are a paucity of resources available for addressing hepatitis B related issues. Aspects of programmatic responses to HIV and hepatitis C have been incorporated into the policy responses to hepatitis B without a clear articulation or understanding of the implications of this inclusion. This is particularly clear in terms of the discussion about hepatitis B related stigma and discrimination with assumptions made within the HIV and hepatitis C sectors of similarities and crossovers between the experiences of people with HIV, people with hepatitis C and people with hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is a different infection from HIV and hepatitis C. It is vaccine preventable. It disproportionally affects people whose cultural understanding of health is different from that used by the western medical model. The social marginalisation experienced by some people with hepatitis B is overlaid with race, culture, immigration, social and cultural marginalisation rather than necessarily by behaviour. The paper will draw on an analysis of policy documents, literature and interview data to argue that the nature and experience of hepatitis B stigma and discrimination are different and require responses that fundamentally differ from a different response.


Jack Wallace (Presenter), Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society
Jack has worked in community, government and research sectors to reduce the personal and community impact of blood borne viruses, particularly viral hepatitis. His research looks at hepatitis where it intersects with the biomedical, social, economic, cultural and political spheres. Jack investigates how viral hepatitis affects individuals and communities and shapes social relations and practices and policy. In addition to a series of hepatitis B and hepatitis C related qualitative studies, Jack is Chief Investigator on two Australian Research Council funded projects.

Jeanne Ellard, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society

Ros Le, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society

Lizzie Smith, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society

Jacqui Richmond, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society