Living with hepatitis during COVID-19 – AIID Symposium 

March 3, 2022

The Australian Institute for Infectious Disease (AIID) and the Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) held a joint symposium showcasing French and Australian research and cooperation on infectious diseases with a focus on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event offered an opportunity to meet with and hear from top infectious disease specialists from France and Australia as they discuss research and shared experiences from past and present pandemics to guide future responses. There were a variety of speakers at the events, including public health officials and infectious disease physicians. The presentation covered a wide variety of topics and issues highlighted throughout the pandemic, from first signs to nationwide lockdowns.

Former CEO Melanie Eagle spoke about the experiences of those living with viral hepatitis during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the work LiverWELL has done during these difficult times. Melanie highlighted issues that were specific to those living with hepatitis, and how we may plan to resolve these during future public health crises. Her key points included: limited and deferred access to care leading to worsening of their condition; the need for information on current COVID-19 vaccines when undergoing treatment for hepatitis B; and the challenges surrounding community engagement and education during lockdowns.

Melanie stated that going forward it would be beneficial to have the community as a partner when planning and implementing healthcare responses.

LiverWELL is committed to further educating communities on liver-related diseases and supporting those living with viral hepatitis and liver diseases during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands where we work - the lands of the Woi-Wurrung Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nations. We express our gratitude to them for their continued care and curation of these lands and waters. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

LiverWELL observes and honours the Kulin Nation's intrinsic connection to land, sky and water, and the creator Bunjil. LiverWELL is committed to being led and informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on bridging health outcomes for communities and improving liver health.