PODCAST: AOD outreach and smashing stigma about viral hepatitis
7 February 2019
"You could stand in a bucket of infected blood and still not catch the infection...as long as you don't have any cuts on your feet."
That's one of the little anecdotes Steven Taylor uses to illustrate how viral hepatitis can only be passed from one person to another through infected blood. Click on the orange button to listen.
Steven has worked at Hepatitis Victoria as a volunteer, performer and now Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Workforce Training Officer. Every week Steven presents the most recent facts about viral hepatitis in a two-hour summary, to organisations in the AOD sector.
In a podcast interview Steven talks about his job, what the training involves and why there is a "...real need in the AOD community for this kind of information."
Steven talks about how viral hepatitis is passed from person to person, and why entrenched myths and stigma make it a difficult disease to tackle.
Steven’s own story of overcoming hepatitis C makes him an ideal person to make the case.
“Whatever the core values of your organisation, it is in your interest to help the people you are working with who are affected by all the social, physiological and medical stigmas that come with a diagnosis of hepatitis B or hepatitis C,” he says.
“Organisations have nothing to lose, only to gain if they do the sessions,” he says of the service he offers which has received funding from the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services, making it free for recipient organisations.
“It will only cost you as much time as it takes to listen, about 2 hours.”
Steven says he has received a very warm reception from the AOD sector, and the only time his offer of a presentation has been refused is when the organisation has already done a Hepatitis Victoria course or has a resident GP on site.
“I’ve had nothing but enthusiasm, it’s been a really positive experience,” he says.
Smashing the lingering myths –mainly the product of stigma- around viral hepatitis is an aspect of the work he particularly enjoys.
“No question is a stupid one…” he says. “Even the proverbial ‘can you get viral hepatitis from a door knob?’ is a valid question, because the one way to find out, is if you ask.”
In all the sessions so far, Steven has been stumped only once: “…an out and out ‘anti-vaccer’ threw me a few curve balls when I spoke about the hepatitis B vaccination, so I went back and did my research and can speak to those points now.
“I have learnt a lot,” he says
If you would like to contact Steven to invite him to train your organisation call 03 9385 9101 or email Steven@hepvic.org.au