13.8 C
Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Hep C? There’s a cure and people on the north coast are missing out

Latest News

New venues of concern in Ballina

The Northern NSW Local Health District has been notified of a number of new venues of concern associated with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Other News

Ballina charity ball to raise funds for men’s mental health

Locals will have the chance to support local men with their mental health when the Night of Hope Charity Ball takes place in Ballina on October Ball.

Tackling cane toads on the Tweed

Tweed Shire Council has put in place a plan to deal with the cane toad population in the area. Along with the not-for-profit organisation Watergum, Tweed Shire has launched a project for collecting toads that will begin in October.

Nuclear-powered subs? Dr Caldicott speaks

‘America has 18 Trident submarines, powered by highly enriched Uranium 235, which can be used as fuel for nuclear weapons. Each sub carries 24 missiles, each one is armed with eight hydrogen bombs – 30 times the killing power of one Hiroshima bomb. That’s enough subs to produce nuclear winter and end life on Earth.’

Tweed Council says ‘No’ to State government taking their developer income

Tweed Shire Councillors have rejected a proposal by the NSW government, that would reduce the ability of local councils to collect infrastructure contributions from developers.

Cartoon of the week – 22 September, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

A new COVID-19 case flies into the Far North Coast

The Northern NSW Local Health District has confirmed that there is a new case of COVID-19 in Northern NSW today, and they will be included in NSW Health’s official reporting tomorrow.

Photo Marco Verch.

Digby Hildreth

Well over 70,000 people have been cured of hepatitis C in the past four years – more than 2,000 of them in Northern NSW.

One of these people is long-term Northern Rivers resident Catherine Davies,* who contracted hepatitis C as a ‘young and impressionable’ 18-year-old.

She caught the virus the same way that 90 per cent of people do – by sharing needles. That was more than 35 years ago. For most of that time, Catherine lived unaware she had the disease, despite feeling ‘ridiculously tired all the time’.

It is normal for the virus to lie hidden like this, a ‘silent’ presence in the liver, even for decades. If left untreated, it can lead to symptoms that might include fatigue, muscle aches, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, a rash and itching. Many people mistakenly attribute these symptoms to just getting older.

As the virus progresses, it can lead to diseases such as cirrhosis. Liver failure and cancer are also possible outcomes.

Catherine avoided this grim scenario by seeing her GP for a blood test in 2018 and going on a program the antiviral drugs that are available to everyone with a Medicare card through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

She had been first diagnosed with hepatitis C in the mid-90s. However, because her ‘viral load’ wasn’t too high, she declined the treatment that was available then – a six-month course of pills and weekly injections of Interferon. People she knew had had a ‘terrible time’ on the Interferon program, she says.

New options

Catherine continued to suffer from other minor illnesses and ‘niggly things’ that she thought might be hep C related and when offered the new antivirals two years ago she jumped at the chance.

Within months she was clear of the virus. Three months after finishing treatment, another blood test confirmed she was cured and her liver functioning within the normal range.


Her life has been transformed by the treatment, she says, with a return to physical wellbeing and an ever-increasing improvement in her energy levels and mental clarity.

Catherine is one of 2,189 people from the Northern Rivers treated for the virus – up to September 2019. But that leaves an estimated 3,000 who remain untreated.

This statistic has led Hepatitis NSW, in collaboration with the Northern NSW Local Health District, to launch the TEST CURE LIVE campaign – to reach out to those people living with the virus, which used to be known only as hepatitis non-A non-B.

‘If you think there is any chance you may have contracted hepatitis C, even if it was decades ago, through needles, a blood transfusion or tattoos, I would urge you to ask your GP for a blood test to find out,’ says Krista Zohrab of the Lismore Liver Clinic.

 ‘There is no reason to live with hepatitis C. A simple test, followed by tablets, for two or three months is all it takes to be cured. Treatment is cheap, with few or no side effects, and 95 per cent successful.’

If you are not comfortable talking to your GP, Krista suggests you call Lismore Liver Clinic on 6620 7539.

‘We can help organise testing and treatment anywhere on the Northern Rivers,’ says Krista.

For more information, visit TEST CURE LIVE.

*Not her real name

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Byron Bay beach party end in PINS and a charge for biting

Police say a woman has been charged and four Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) issued following a beach party in the Byron Bay area overnight.

Fundraising for koala signs for Bangalow

As the koala mating season has started, Bangalow Koalas has set up fundraising to create incorporate more koala road signs. Bangalow Koalas, who keep a watch...

Nuclear Submarines – just a foot in the door

In the next few months we will hear a lot about how superior nuclear-powered submarines are. Vice Admiral Mike Noonan is even claiming superior stealth characteristics – which is simply not true. Yes, they tend to be faster. This is great if you want to go thousands of kilometres in a matter of days. But they are also much more expensive.

Compost back on Lismore’s gardening menu

Lismore City Council says that their BIOCycle Compost is again on sale from the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre and Nimbin Transfer Station, after a two-year break.