Our health information and treatment access program, Live Hep C Free is run by people who have experience of living with hep C.
The program aims to meet people where they’re at, with the healthcare they need.
Previously known as Living Well, Live Hep C Free is focused on giving people easier and simpler access to hep C testing, FibroScan, and treatment as well as information and support around hep C and liver health.
Our peers work in partnership with hepatitis healthcare workers to help get more people tested for hep C and more people cured. Everywhere that the Live Hep C Free program goes, so too does access to blood testing, FibroScanning, and hep C treatment.
The program works with anyone in the community living with hep C including people in residential rehabs, people experiencing homelessness, people accessing methadone clinics and drug health services, people who inject drugs and people affected by the criminal justice system.
The Live Hep C Free program can operate in three distinct models depending on the needs of each service. All of these models are centred on being run or facilitated by our expert peer workers.
We strongly believe in making hep C testing and treatment as easy and simple as possible to access so that people have the opportunity to live healthier, to live better, and to live hep C free.
Our speaker service program connects the community and health workforce with personal accounts of people who have experience living viral hepatitis. Their personal stories challenge stereotypes and address the stigma associated with living with hep B and hep C. All of our speakers with lived experience of hepatitis C are now cured.
Our speakers have been invited to present their stories at:
Witnessing personal accounts of people’s lived experience of hep B or hep C develops an understanding of how issues such as stigma and discrimination impact on access to healthcare and support services. This has been shown to be an extremely effective strategy in improving attitudes, values and behaviours.
Our speakers are trained in public speaking and share their stories with participants as part of our broader hep B and hep C education sessions, and at community workshops and events.
Let's Talk is a specialised hepatitis-aware Counselling Service, operating from Hepatitis NSW' office.
We provide Face to Face, Telephone and Skype counselling sessions (by appointment and on-the spot counselling ) to affected individuals.
All our counsellors are trained in understanding viral hepatitis and it's impact on person's physical, emotional and mental health.
We provide counselling during office hours Monday to Friday (Face to Face and Telephone)
Our service is free of charge.
Anyone affected by viral hepatitis living in NSW:
- clients living with viral hepatitis C and B
- clients seeking treatment for hepatitis; clients currently on treatment; clients choosing not to treat hepatitis or postponing treatment
- individuals dealing with severe consequences of living with viral hepatitis (e.g. advanced liver disease, liver failure, waiting for / living with liver transplant)
- clients after treatment (either cleared hepatitis or treatment unsuccessful, looking at other options)
- we support people whom have cleared the virus in the past, but still deal with consequences (side effects, isolation, health issues, etc.)
- family or cares of people living with viral hepatitis (especially during treatment for hepatitis)
During and after participating in our Counselling Program, our clients report feeling clearer about planning their health-care and navigating the health system, greater capacity to "self-manage", increased ability to recognise and deal with their emotions, achieving or working to achieve life-style balance, increased self-awareness, mindfulness and social ecology.
All our clients report feeling less isolated due to having an understanding person to talk to and most people report that counselling with Let's Talk made a positive impact on their sense of well being.
We apply person-centred, wellness-focused approach to counselling and work with our clients toward finding their strengths, building resilience, creating pathways and strategies to improve self-care, resolve issues, finding solutions to problems and empower our clients to live create lasting changes to make life healthier and more fulfilling.
Quotes from our clients:
"Thank you! Thank you! for all the support your wonderful service provides. Let's Talk Counselling at HNSW is the ONLY support I have and I would not have made it through treatment (10 days to go :)) without you all!"
"I called Hepatitis Helpline after receiving hepatitis C diagnosis in March, 2016. I was so shocked, stressed, very upset as my health was already compromised by other illness. I was told that hep C can be cured. I was also recommended to try counselling and started getting weekly sessions. My counsellor supported me all the way through till I finally gotten onto hep C new treatment. It is now 2017, I have completed my treatment and had "hepatitis C not detected" result at 3 months after I finished my pills. My counsellor was there for me and I still have sessions every 2 weeks. I still have few health issues, but started feeling much better - hope this is because hep C is gone! I am planning to stop having counselling sessions, but have to say that support that I've had was amazing. Thank you!"
“I have found my counselling sessions vital to my mental health and wellbeing. After spending three years in extremely poor health, I have unfortunately acquired some significant issues in coping with family and my life in general. My counsellor has played an important part in my recovery, she is non- judgemental and very understanding, I feel that we have a strong connection and I trust her with my life stories. I have felt very isolated with my illness and the fact that I had hep C for so many years. The disease has had, and continues to have, a negative impact of my life and that of my family. Thank God I have had someone to talk to and to support me through this. I feel that I have travelled in a positive direction since starting counselling. I know that I still have a way to go. Even though I have received the good news and at last I am free of the disease, the impact of the sickness for all these years has left me mentally and physically exhausted, but I do feel that with my counsellor’s help I can see a brighter and healthier future. Feeling positive and thankful.”
The new Hep Connect Program offers support to anyone in the community who is about to commence or is on hep C treatment with SMS text reminders and peer-based telephone calls. The peer-based calls provide an opportunity to speak with someone who’s been through the treatment and the SMS text messages remind clients to take their daily medication, to contact their hepatology nurse for scripts, testing and results, all the way to SVR.
The Hep Connect program works in close partnership with hepatology nurses throughout NSW LHDs. Hepatology nurses offer the Hep Connect SMS text reminders and peer-based telephone support calls to patients whom they believe can benefit from some added support. All peers connecting with clients, have lived experience with hep C treatment, are trained and work from our Sydney offices.
The program aims to provide clients with the right type of support at the right time to make the journey through treatment easier and to keep their patients on track with their medication and all test appointments.
Hepatology nurses have reported that the SMS text reminders and peer-based calls have reduced the number of clients lost to follow-up and clients have reported that the Hep Connect program has been instrumental in their treatment compliance and adherence, all the way to cure.