Dr Sally Cockburn
Leading Health Communicator
“I am a Hep Hero because I think that we need to smash stigma against people who are living with chronic illness”.
I have been a public advocate on a variety of sensitive public health issues for over two decades, including for people living with viral hepatitis.
I specialize in General Practice and work extensively in the media to raise awareness, including television, radio and print.
I have been involved with Hepatitis Victoria through the Young People’s Program. I was a judge for Street Shot 2013, which is a health promotion photography art competition/campaign run by Hepatitis Victoria for young people, which used photography to raise awareness among young people about viral hepatitis.
Street Shot is a great way to reach young people and keep them involved. This is vital given that most new infections of hepatitis C are in people aged 15 to 29. By teaching young people about prevention we increase awareness and significantly reduce the new infections.
Liver disease related to viral hepatitis is an increasing problem in Australia. Indeed, hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplants in Australia, and deaths arising from hepatitis C have surpassed deaths from HIV/AIDS in Australia. Yet, the shame and the stigma about living with viral hepatitis can mean that people feel afraid to tell the people who matter most to them, or people at risk may be reluctant to even get tested.