Jul 20
Come for breakfast and art class - hepatitis awareness week 23-29 July 2012

In Orange, those whose lives have been touched by hepatitis C will have the opportunity to work together to produce a mixed medium artwork under the guidance of a local artist, which will be displayed in the Community Health Centre waiting room.

Activities across the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) such as the Breakfast and Art Class called "Together we stand",are focussing on bringing awareness about hepatitis C and its symptoms, to residents and highlighting the opportunity for testing and treatment available at their local hepatitis Clinics.

Orange hepatology nurse Ms Roisin Dyer said the aim of the project is to foster a sense of community amongst the clients, their families and local health staff.

“We will also be providing a free liver-friendly breakfast for the clients attending our opioid substitution treatment programs. Health promotion information will also be circulated along with information for staff in local emergency departments, about the newer treatments available to people living with hepatitis,” she said.

Awareness raising activities across the Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) such as the ‘Orange Clinic Breakfast and Art’  are focussing on bringing awareness about viral hepatitis to local residents and highlighting local opportunities for hepatitis testing and treatment.

Hepatitis, meaning inflammation of the liver, is often caused by a viral infection. Left untreated, it can lead to serious health problems, including early mortality, for a significant number of Australians.

Hepatitis NSW CEO, Stuart Loveday, said there are estimated to be more than 225,000 people in Australia living with chronic hepatitis C and 170,000 people with chronic hepatitis B.

“Despite the prevalence and seriousness of hepatitis, few people know that hepatitis C can be treated and cured in the vast majority of cases.” Mr Loveday said. “And there is a good and effective treatment for people with hepatitis B as well, but treatment take-up rates for both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are low.”

Public awareness of viral hepatitis is poor. Many people, including some health workers, are neither aware of the ways hepatitis is transmitted nor of the treatments available.

NSW Hepatitis Awareness Week 2012 runs from the 23to 29 July, and World Hepatitis Day is on Saturday 28 July.  Media Contact: To arrange interviews or vision of the planned activities please call Melissa Hamling (Mon-Tues)  6369 3833 / 0417 511 738 or Rachel Buchanan (Wed-Fri) 6369 3832 / 0428 261 899.