University students engage in Hep B Forum

On Friday 27 May, Hepatitis NSW ran a forum to utilise the creative minds of University of Sydney’s Hepatitis B Free Society members. The aim of the night was to help revamp Hepatitis NSW’s existing Hepatitis C services to cater for communities affected by Hepatitis B in addition to helping with their future funding proposals. The night kicked off with a smorgasbord of vegetarian delights (in honour of Meat Free May) and a discussion activity, followed by a speaker panel featuring Carrie Lee (Youth Outreach Officer for Hepatitis B Free), Dr Thao Lam (Staff Specialist at Westmead Hospital and visiting gastroenterologist at the San) and Robert Wisniewski (Deputy CEO of Hepatitis NSW). Attendees learned about the difficulties that individuals faced when diagnosed with Hepatitis B, including understanding the diagnosis itself.

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The night kicked off with a smorgasbord of vegetarian delights (in honour of Meat Free May) and a discussion activity, followed by a speaker panel featuring Carrie Lee (Youth & Communications Officer for Hepatitis B Free), Dr Thao Lam (Staff Specialist at Westmead Hospital and visiting gastroenterologist at the San) and Robert Wisniewski (Deputy CEO of Hepatitis NSW). Attendees learned about the difficulties that individuals faced when diagnosed with Hepatitis B, including understanding the diagnosis itself, social stigma associated with the illness as well as comprehending the chronicity of the disease, in which the virus affects patients lifelong. Notwithstanding the insight into the challenges faced by patients, the speakers also touched on the need to raise awareness of the disease, which affects populations around the globe on a scale comparable to HIV/AIDS.

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Although small, the forum gave everyone an opportunity to shine and many productive discussions were had that night. Special thanks goes to Ruth Bearpark from Hepatitis NSW for doing the behind-the-scenes organisation of the night and Hepatitis NSW for funding the event.

Find out more about Hepatitis NSW: https://www.hep.org.au/

Post and photography by Lucy Zhang

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