AIVL Hepatitis C Awareness Project (HAP)

Stream: Rapid Papers 1
Date: Thursday, 31 March 2016
Time: 3.30 pm – 4.45 pm


The AIVL Hepatitis C Awareness Project aims to raise awareness of HCV testing, diagnosis, liver health assessment and the new generation treatments among PWID so that people can ‘know their HCV status’, ‘fully understand their HCV diagnosis’, ‘know the state of their liver health’ and ‘be aware of what ongoing monitoring, management and treatment options may be available to them now and in the future depending on their individual situation. One of the issues that is becoming more and more obvious is that many people in our community may have been HCV tested (often many times over many years) but still don’t necessarily fully understand their HCV status or the diagnosis they received. People are also not sufficiently aware that they can be symptom-free but still have underlying progressive liver disease. We also know that we need to be encouraging and supporting people to have their liver health assessed so they know where they stand in relation to their HCV diagnosis and whether they need to be considering treatment now or in the future. The latest data is that 124 people every month are now dying from hepatitis C related conditions in Australia and this number is set to continue increasing over the coming years. We must act now to ensure our community has all the information they need in a form that ‘speaks to them’ to address their hepatitis C. The presentation will include a summary of key theme's and learning's from the project up to March 2016.


Nicole Wiggins (Presenter), AIVL
Nicole works with AIVL, the national peak body for drug user organisations, as a hepatitis c peer educator and project officer. She previously worked with CAHMA, Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy, for over a decade and as the manager for almost 10 years. She has participated in numerous policy and decision making forums, presented at government inquiries, developed and delivered peer education projects. Much of this work centred on hepatitis c education and other harm reduction topics. The ACT Peer Distribution of Naloxone program (Australia's first program) was a result of the advocacy work of CAHMA, and other ACT AOD organisations, with the training program being developed and delivered by CAHMA. A long term interest and commitment in the area of harm reduction and in particular hepatitis C resulted in Nicole returning to work with AIVL after a two year break after resigning as CAHMA manager.