Welcome to this November Hepatitis Australia News Update.

This month has seen an enormous number of important national events and report launches, and we have greatly enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and acknowledging the huge amount of work that is being achieved by and for people impacted by hepatitis b and hepatitis C.

While far too many to mention, some highlights included:

Also this month, Hepatitis Australia held its Annual General Meeting and released its 2020-21 Annual Report.

On 18 and 19 November, we held the Second National Hepatitis Elimination Forum, at which Hepatitis Australia staff, board and membership discussed the policy levers required to achieve elimination by 2030.

After another jam packed year, we will be taking a break over the summer. Please note that the Hepatitis Australia office will be closed between 20 December 2021 to 14 January 2022, and we will not be monitoring emails. If you have a time critical matter over that period please contact our CEO, Carrie Fowlie, via SMS.

If you or someone you know would like information about hepatitis B and/or hepatitis C please visit our website or contact the National Hepatitis Infoline on 1800 437 222.


In this edition, you will find:


Second National Hepatitis Elimination Forum & the refresh of the national hepatitis strategies

The Second National Hepatitis Elimination Forum provided an opportunity for Hepatitis Australia and our membership to come together and tackle some big policy issues with a futurist lens. How can we achieve our shared goal of viral hepatitis elimination by 2030? What do we need to get there to ensure we leave no one behind?

This year’s forum focussed on the national hepatitis strategies which will be refreshed in 2022. The national hepatitis strategies are endorsed by all Health Ministers and sets Australia’s strategic framework.

Over two days, attendees heard informative prompting discussions from some highly respected voices. These discussions led to some complex thinking and important early discussions regarding the refresh of the national hepatitis strategies. Hepatitis Australia looks forward to continuing to work with our members and stakeholders to strengthening our national hepatitis policy documents during 2022.

The event also provided the opportunity to catch up with colleagues around the country. We are grateful to work with so many intelligent and driven people.

“If anyone can eliminate hepatitis, we can!”


Briefing note for viral hepatitis community and sector workforce: Telehealth for hepatitis C and hepatitis B

At the recent launch of the Telehealth for Hepatitis C Report, there was some confusion and uncertainty about the continuation of telehealth amongst the audience. As follow up, Hepatitis Australia, ASHM and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARSCHS) developed a briefing note for the viral hepatitis community and sector workforce.


Annual General Meeting and Annual Report 2020-21

On 18 November 2021, Hepatitis Australia held its Annual General Meeting. We said goodbye to two long-term and highly respected community Board Directors, Pamela Wood and Maria Scarlett. Hepatitis Australia gratefully thanks Pam and Maria for their long-term commitment to the organisation and hepatitis elimination.

We welcome Genevieve Dally, who many would know as the CEO of NTAHC to the Hepatitis Australia Board. We also extend a special welcome to our new Community Board Director, Steven Taylor.

At the AGM, the 2020-2021 Annual Report was presented:

“The unity amongst Hepatitis Australia, our membership, the community, sector stakeholders, and governments to achieve viral hepatitis elimination for the Australian community is not only inspiring, I suggest it is also unique in the health sector. Not only is our goal of elimination visionary but it is also possible. This has been so clearly demonstrated this year, as mobilisation and amplification of this goal has occurred.”

Hepatitis Australia’s Annual Report is now available on our website.


New Guidelines for testing, managing and treating hepatitis C in children

New Australian guidance on testing and treating for hepatitis C in children has been published, and is endorsed by Hepatitis Australia, AHA, ASHM, ASID, and GESA.

The new guidance includes a decision-making chart and Australian Commentary on the (US) AASLD-IDSA Guidance. Of note, the recommendations include that children over 3 years of age can be safely treated for hepatitis C by a paediatric gastroenterologist or infectious disease specialist with experience in the treatment of hepatitis C.

We encourage you to read and share this guidance within your networks.

HCV in Children: Australian Commentary on AASLD-IDSA Guidance

This document provides Australian Commentary on the AASLD-IDSA HCV Guidance: HCV in Children. Recommendations for testing, managing, and treating hepatitis C.

Australian commentary has only been provided where needed in order to provide additional clarification or to detail variations found in the Australian setting.

Topics cover testing; transmission and prevention; monitoring and medical management; whom and when to treat among children and adolescents with HCV infection; and HCV antiviral therapy for children and adolescents.

Decision-making – Hepatitis C in Children

This two-page summary was developed from the HCV in Children: Australian Commentary on AASLD-IDSA Guidance. The resource supports clinicians to provide advice and manage hepatitis C in children.

Page 1 provides recommendations on which tests to order and when to test babies born to mothers with hepatitis C infection.

Page 2 covers natural history; transmission and prevention; parental advice; HCV treatment; monitoring and medical management, including lifestyle recommendations; and indications for specialist referral.



World Hepatitis Day

Congratulations to everyone who participated and supported World Hepatitis Day this year. It was a fantastic festival of events that really displayed the incredible work happening around the country in hepatitis elimination.

Some key highlights included:

  • Hepatitis Australia led a series of meetings with stakeholders via the World Hepatitis Day network, which included representatives from 25 organisations.
  • The World Hepatitis Day factsheet, developed in collaboration with the Doherty Institute provided previously unreleased statistics on hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and the impacts of COVID-19.
  • 1440 people visited the Australian World Hepatitis Day website and viewed 2676 pages.
  • The national World Hepatitis Day calendar included 37 World Hepatitis Day events in every state and territory.
  • Hepatitis Australia collaborated with the Department of Health and Minister’s Office to publish a World Hepatitis Day community message from the Minister for Health via social media. This video was retweeted 57 times, had 25,669 Impressions, 534 Engagements and a 2.1% Engagement Rate.
  • 533 Australian tweets used the hashtags #WorldHepatitisDay or #HepCantWait – approximately 4% of tweets globally using these hashtags in the same time period.

Hepatitis Australia is commencing planning for an even bigger and better World Hepatitis Day in 2022. We will hold our first World Hepatitis Day Network meeting in February, and welcome organisations with a shared goal of hepatitis elimination to join.

To help with our preparations, we’ve developed a brief 3-minute survey to provide your feedback on World Hepatitis Day 2021.

Hepatitis Australia endorses HepBcommunity.org

Hepatitis Australia is pleased to announce its endorsement of a new online community forum HepBcommunity.org, a safe and inclusive “virtual community hall” for people with hepatitis B (and their families). The site allows peers to connect to one another and access trustworthy expert advice. The administrators verify users who are health or scientific experts, so you can be sure that the advice you are given comes from a reputable source.

Discussions on the forum have helped people navigate their recent hepatitis B diagnosis, understand why they aren’t being treated, and provide tips on how to lead healthy lifestyles.

If you are a health expert, a patient advocate, affected by hepatitis B, or know someone who has been, then we encourage you to join the community.

You can support hepBcommunity.org by downloading these posters and promoting them in your network:



On today: How can we improve the delivery of vaccine preventable diseases care to women?

  • Organiser: WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis Epidemiology, The Doherty Institute and ASHM
  • Date: Monday 29 November 2021
  • Time: 1:30-2:45pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time
  • Registration link

This seminar will present research findings from three studies to stakeholders and discuss opportunities for improvement in delivery of influenza, pertussis and hepatitis B vaccinations and care to women and their infants, to prevent infection during and post pregnancy in Victoria.

Researchers will present key findings and recommendations followed by a moderated panel discussion including lived experience perspectives from women with hepatitis B.

This online public seminar is open to all. Healthcare professionals, healthcare services representative and policy makers are highly encouraged to attend.

The event will be moderated by Professor Benjamin Cowie, Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, The Doherty Institute, and presented by Nafisa Yussf and Dr Nicole Allard, researchers from the WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis, The Doherty Institute.

Panellists include Neylan Akut, from LiverWELL.



Abstracts for VH2022 due 5 December 2021

The Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference (VH22) is run by ASHM in collaboration with key sector partners including Hepatitis Australia as a platform for the dissemination and presentation of new and innovative research findings and better management across the Australasian viral hepatitis sector. The conference aims to support the health workforce, government and community to work towards the elimination of hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and to support the communities living with these conditions in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia and Pacific regions.

Abstract submissions are now open, and we encourage our members to submit abstracts showcasing the important work of community organisations.



Abstracts for World Hepatitis Summit due 14 December 2021

Abstracts for the World Hepatitis Summit 2022 are now open. WHS 2022 is a multi-stakeholder conference bringing community, science and policy together. Therefore, abstract submissions are designed to capture a broad swath of hepatitis efforts.

There are 12 categories for abstract submissions and submissions are encouraged from civil society organisations and people with lived experience. Submit your abstract to help shape the conversations and ensure the meeting is relevant, educational and impactful for everyone.



Preliminary Findings: Hepatitis C from disability to cure – ‘speculative legal mapping’

  • Researchers: Gender, Law and Drugs research team, La Trobe University

Members of the GLaD research team are examining the set of laws and policies devised in a pre-cure world that have yet to be reformed since the advent of curative treatments. A key early stage of this project has involved collecting laws, statutes and other legal frameworks that may continue to impact people living with and cured of hepatitis C. The development of this database aims to help us better understand the (shifting) status of hepatitis C within law, including how hepatitis C–related stigma and discrimination plays out.



Article: The Lived Experience of Chronic Hepatitis B: A Broader View of Its Impacts and Why We Need a Cure

  • Authors: Thomas Tu, Joan M Block, Su Wang, Chari Cohen, Mark W Douglas

The considerable impacts on society caused by CHB through patient mortality, morbidity, and economic loss are well-recognised in the field. However as we well know, this is a narrow view of the harms, given that people living with CHB can be asymptomatic for the majority of their life-long infection.

Of less-appreciated importance are the psychosocial harms, which can continue throughout an affected person's lifetime. In this article, the authors review the broad range of these impacts, which include fear and anxiety; financial loss and instability; stigma and discrimination; and rejection by society. Importantly, these directly affect patient diagnosis, management, and treatment.

The article also highlights the roles that the research community can play in taking these factors into account and mitigating them. In particular, the development of a cure for hepatitis B virus infection would alleviate many of the psychosocial impacts of CHB. The authors conclude that there should be a greater recognition of the full impacts associated with CHB to bring meaningful, effective, and deliverable results to the global community living with hepatitis B.



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