Publications & Reports

Technical review of hepatitis C health promotion resources.

Winter R, Fraser S, Booker N, Treloar C

Abstract

The hepatitis C virus affects approximately 200,000 Australians (National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research [NCHECR], 2010) and to date there is no vaccine available to prevent transmission. In New South Wales, there were 3,950 new diagnoses of hepatitis C infection in 2009 (NCHECR, 2010). In all Australian states and Territories, hepatitis C disproportionately affects people who inject drugs; 90% of all new infections are attributed to unsafe injecting (NCHECR, 2006; Razali et al., 2007). Prevention interventions are therefore primarily targeted at people who inject drugs. Along with needle and syringe programs, the provision of information has been the cornerstone of the preventive hepatitis C response in Australia. Primarily, this has been in the form of educational resources aiming to increase knowledge of transmission. Common educational approaches to bloodborne virus prevention among people who inject drugs include peer education, oneon- one health promotion and distribution of print and audio-visual educational materials. The effectiveness of these interventions in preventing hepatitis C transmission, or producing behaviour change, is difficult to evaluate and few attempts have been made to do so. However, social research has highlighted that the ability of individuals to adopt safer injecting practices is mediated by structural, social and environmental, as well as personal factors, which call attention to what may be important considerations for framing hepatitis C prevention messages. In NSW, and Australia more broadly, print hepatitis C prevention education materials are most commonly produced by government-funded community organisations and government departments, financed by core or one-off funding streams. Resources are produced within a social, legal and political context which may serve to inhibit content; to some extent, producers are limited by what may be acceptable to an audience wider than the target group, and the perceived moral implications of providing direction for the safest preparation and consumption of illicit drugs.

Publication

  • Journal: National Centre for HIV Social Research Monograph
  • Published: 01/05/2011

Author

Health Issue