Jenny (4.2.1950 - 27.1.2018) passed away as a result of complications to do with liver cancer resulting from hepatitis C. Her contribution to raising awareness of viral hepatitis and tireless advocacy will never be forgotten. She was Executive Officer of Harm Reduction Victoria.
“I am a Hep Hero because I want to ensure that people who are at risk of contracting viral hepatitis and people who are living with viral hepatitis are all treated with the respect they deserve.”
I have been involved with Hepatitis Victoria through their training programs for medical practitioners as well as a member of the Board.
I have twenty years of experience working with people who inject drugs through peer-based research and education initiatives. I have worked in the Epidemiology and Social Research Unit and the Centre for Harm Reduction at the Burnet Institute.
I believe one of the reasons why there is stigma around viral hepatitis, particularly hepatitis C, is in its association with people who inject drugs.
It can be easy to dismiss the importance of addressing stigma and discrimination around a health issue when it is so associated with such a heavily stigmatised behaviour and group of people. However, our commitment is to the importance of health as a basic human right for all people, regardless of who you are or what you do.
Stigma and discrimination is a huge problem in exercising our basic human right to health. Stigma silences people living with viral hepatitis from being honest and truthful, and it maintains a culture of misinformation and fear mongering which is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of all Australians.