The power of personal stories, challenging stigma and discrimination: Changing attitudes

Stream: Stigma 2
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 3.30 pm – 4.45 pm


Hepatitis NSW’s C-een & Heard peer led program enables people who are affected by hepatitis C to talk about the psychosocial or medical and treatment-related aspects of their experience of living with hepatitis C, to educate and inform the health and community workforce and the broader community in NSW. The program enables individuals with lived experience of hepatitis C to participate in Hepatitis NSW’s education services, delivered within the context of harm reduction theory and practice. The presentation will outline how this peer-led program addresses stigma and discrimination in health and community workforce, the beneficiaries of this positive speakers program and the impact it has on deconstructing stereotypes about people with hepatitis C, while increasing positive attitudes amonge audiences. The presentation will explore how peer workers are trained, supported and empowered to share their personal stories. An examination of recent qualitative and quantitative data collected through our Results-Based Accountability framework (RBA) will be included in the presentation, along with some brief case studies. This program is an example of how people from affected communities forge a sense of belonging through peer led health promotion activities. Disclosure of interest statement Hepatitis NSW receives funding from the NSW Ministry of Health. No pharmaceutical grants are received for this project.


Aisling Dowling, Hepatitis NSW
Programs Manager, Education and Community Support at Hepatitis NSW

Kyle Leadbeatter (Presenter), Hepatitis NSW
Kyle Leadbeatter has been working in and studying community development and blood-borne viruses for seven years in both Australia and South Africa. He is currently employed as Project Officer - Education and Community Support at Hepatitis NSW and manages the chronic disease self-management program Living Well. Kyle’s experience in working with specific marginalised communities in South Africa for The AIDS Foundation as well as in Australia for Hepatitis NSW is utilised in improving health-related decision-making among people living with blood-borne viruses.