“I am a Hep Hero because I believe that together, we can reduce the stigma surrounding hepatitis, and help ensure that more people are able to live healthier, happier lives.’’
My professional history began in communities, networks and organisations where BBV’s such as hepatitis were a key focus.
This understanding of the key role that peer communities have in sharing information and adopting behaviors that keep us safe and well remains key to my professional understanding of health promotion, effective treatment and prevention.
Today I am lucky to work in an organisation where these understandings shape the way we work with communities and deliver care.
I am of the generation whose lives were significantly changed by the advent of BBV’s such as HIV and hepatitis and this taught me important lessons about risk, transmission and the need for awareness, care and responsibility.
It also taught me about stigma, discrimination and community mobilisation, the need for those of us affected by issues to be at the forefront of designing treatment responses, community education and addressing community attitudes where these are harmful or unhelpful.
Those of us who might once have thought that cure was impossible, cannot help but be incredibly excited by the fact that treatment is now so readily available.
There are two things to remember about hepatitis – it can and does affect anyone, and it is also preventable and treatable. And that’s why we need to talk about it. I want everyone to be able to have the knowledge, skills, confidence and support they need to avoid infection where possible, and to get early and effective treatment if they need it.