Launching Vital Voices website

In May, members of the DruGS team will attend the 13th annual Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference (29 to 31 May). This conference is a key event for researchers, practitioners and policy makers working in viral hepatitis and related areas, and is an important opportunity to showcase key outcomes for our Australian Research Council-funded project, ‘Lived experiences of treatment for hepatitis C in Australia’.

The team will present a paper based on the project data, and launch the key outcome for the project, VitalvoicesonhepC.org. The paper, to be given by Adrian Farrugia on Monday May 30, is titled ‘Addressing the impact of stigma on hepatitis C treatment uptake in the elimination era’. The launch will take place on the following day, Tuesday May 30.

What is VitalvoicesofhepC.org?

Vital voices: Personal stories of treatment for hepatitis C is a brand-new website presenting personal experiences of hepatitis C, treatment and cure in the elimination era. Developed from an Australian Research Council-funded research project, the website includes 50 detailed individual stories of hepatitis C treatment drawn from qualitative interviews conducted with people affected by hepatitis C in New South Wales and Victoria. Presented in a range of formats – video re-enactments, original audio recordings and text extracts – the website uses participants’ own words to explore complex issues relating to testing and diagnosis, life after cure and the importance of family and friends.

The website content consists of detailed individual stories of hepatitis C treatment along with carefully developed sections on specific topics, such as experiences of hepatitis C testing and diagnosis, reflections on cure, views on hepatitis C-related stigma and discrimination, and observations about the importance of family and friends. Presented in a range of formats – video re-enactments, original audio recordings and written extracts from the interviews – the website uses participants’ own words to explore these complex topics.

In a context in which hepatitis C treatment uptake has recently declined in Australia, this novel resource will counter misconceptions about hepatitis C by providing personal insights into treatment and cure. One in a series of highly praised, informative and destigmatising websites produced by this team (see Livesofsubstance.org and Overdoselifesavers.org), the website aims to support treatment uptake, improve treatment experiences and even save lives.

At this launch you will hear from the research team who developed it alongside guest speakers Sione Crawford (Harm Reduction Victoria) and Dr David Iser (St Vincent’s Hospital and The Alfred), who will reflect on Vital voices and its significance.

Attendees at the launch will be able to pick up copies of the four broadsheets also produced from the project, either in hard copy or on USB stick.

The Chief Investigators for the project on which VitalvoicesonhepC.org is based include Australia’s foremost experts on the social analysis of hepatitis C and drug consumption, all of whom are experienced in producing research-based websites on health issues:

  • Professor Suzanne Fraser (Director, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University)
  • Professor Carla Treloar (Director, Centre for Social Research in Health, University of New South Wales)
  • Professor David Moore (Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University)