Paula Brink presented on behalf of the Menzies Hepatitis B team. They found that to get acceptance with their Hepatitis B research project in remote communities, they first needed to do culturally appropriate education work to raise awareness which led to better understanding and engagement.
Kyle Leadbeatter spoke about the peer-based Live Hep C Free project. Their models are greatly simplified, reducing steps and barriers to accessing curative treatment. In a single week a fortnight earlier, 186 people engaged across seven sites in NSW leading to 12 already commencing treatment.
Emma Williams from Mosaic Services outlined their service, providing counselling and case management for people living with or affected by Blood Borne Viruses. 20% of Mosaic’s work is in the prison system, with 224 prisoners supported in two prisons. Working in close collaboration with the Prisons Health Service, they have been able to overcome many of the practical barriers to providing an effective service.
Carla Treloar described Patient Reported Measures and their importance for groups who typically experience marginalisation. Patients wanted more than just a cure; they wanted better understanding of what had happened and would happen, and a plan for themselves for the future. She emphasised Structural Competency, the need for practitioners to look beyond individual factors to the structural factors in society and healthcare that produce and sustain inequalities.
In the short presentations:
Steve Taylor presented on Art Inside which engaged 160 prisoners across seven prisons, leading to 45 submissions being made to the program and showed examples of the work.
Alisa Pedrana presented on behalf of the Burnet team who looked at the acceptability of point-of-care testing for Hepatitis C in people who inject drugs. Venepuncture was preferred to fingerpick. 20 minutes was rapid enough but two hours wasn’t acceptable.
Nicole Taylor presented on Liver Better life’s Hepatitis C awareness campaign in a rural town of 20,000 people. 511 community members attended events, the number of GP prescribers rose from 1 to 11, and 31 people accessed treatment.
Morgan Dempsey presented on the Indigenous Health Worker delivered fibroscan project in Far North Queensland. A scope of practice was defined and ATSI health workers were trained and are delivering the service.
Julie-Anne Markham from the Queensland Injector Health Network described their Hepatitis C outreach programme. 75 people were screened, a quarter of whom were ATSI, with 46 started on treatment and 33 successfully completing treatment.
Lauren Brenner presented on behalf of EntryPoint which sought to increase Hepatitis C testing amongst sexually adventurous men who have sex with men. There was no expectation that Hepatitis C status would be disclosed to sexual partners.
Paddy moved to rural Australia after twenty years working in Central London as an Inner City GP. He now works in Esperance Hospital and also with Remote Aboriginal Communities in the Western Desert.