Reducing isolation and bridging the gap to hepatitis C treatment

Stream: Rapid Papers 2
Date: Friday, 1 April 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


Hepatitis NSW’s Hep Connect is a free telephone based peer-led service for people in NSW living with hep C, their partners and carers, and particularly for people who are considering or currently undergoing treatment for hepatitis C. The program provides opportunities for peer workers to share their unique experience of treatment to enhance people’s capacity to make informed decisions when considering treatment. The program enables individuals with lived experience of hepatitis C to actively participate in Hepatitis NSW’s community support services. These trained peer workers provide practical and emotional support and facilitate access to other services i.e. counselling. The presentation will explore how peer workers are trained and empowered to provide health promotion messages, emotional support and mentoring to individuals affected communities/their families/carers who are seeking guidance on how to navigate the health care system and manage their viral hepatitis. This program has created a network of peer workers throughout the state and offers individuals in regional and metro areas access to a unique treatment specific support service. An examination of recent qualitative and quantitative data collected through our Results-Based Accountability framework (RBA) will be included in the presentation along with brief case studies. This Hep Connect program is undergoing an external evaluation at present and I will include these findings in the presentation. 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, 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.