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Youth at Risk: Preventing hepatitis C in young people who are injecting

South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Project Added:
8 April 2015
Last updated:
22 April 2015

Youth at Risk: Preventing hepatitis C in young people who are injecting

Summary

This project involves the development of a training package aimed at youth workers who may work with young people at risk of hepatitis C. 

Aim

To enhance the capacity of youth workers to prevent the transmission of hepatitis C among young people who may be exposed to injecting drug use.

Benefits

  • Increases youth workers’ knowledge of hepatitis C and other forms of viral hepatitis.
  • Increases awareness of the Needle and Syringe Program (NSP) and develops partnerships between youth services and local harm reduction services.
  • Develops youth workers’ skills and confidence in engaging with young people around injecting drug use and harm reduction services.

Project Status

Project status: Implementation - the initiative is ready for implementation, is currently being implemented, piloted or tested.

Project start date: November 2014. 

Lead organisation: The HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Unit, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). 

Background

  • ‘New initiates’ and ‘young people who are at risk of injecting’ are named as priority populations in the NSW Hepatitis C Strategy, 2014-20201.
  • The Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy2 aims to build a greater understanding of and skills within priority populations, health care professionals and the community sector as they relate to hepatitis C transmission.
  • Youth workers have been identified as a group that could provide vital harm reduction messages and advice for young people at risk of or currently injecting.
  • Young people who have been exposed to injecting generally have a poor understanding of how hepatitis C is transmitted and about health services available to young people who inject.
  • There were 341 notifications of hepatitis C among NSW residents aged 15-24 from October 2013 to October 2014.

Implementation 

The training program is designed to be administered by two experienced facilitators, with at least one trainer who has extensive and up-to-date knowledge on hepatitis C and other blood-borne infections, as well as an understanding of injecting drug use issues.

The package consists of three modules, equivalent to approximately 4.5 hours of training.

  • Module 1: Setting the Context – Overview of Hepatitis C and Viral Hepatitis
  • Module 2: Harm Reduction and the Needle and Syringe Program
  • Module 3: Engaging with Young People around injecting drug use and harm reduction services.

Each module can be delivered separately or in one package and includes:

  • a learning program, timetable and session outline
  • training notes to use as a guide
  • extensive PowerPoint slides, with additional notes provided where relevant
  • participant handouts and case studies.

A strategy has been developed to enable statewide distribution of training. This includes:

  • SESLHD launch in May 2015
  • engaging Local Health Districts and statewide organisations who have the capacity to deliver training
  • train the trainer sessions for the above organisations
  • resources provided in hard copy and digital formats
  • promoting training packages within SESLHD youth networks
  • promoting training to statewide youth health networks.

Partnerships

The development of the package was assisted by an expert Advisory Group drawn from the following organisations:

  • Centre for Social Research in Health, University of NSW
  • Y Foundations
  • NUAA
  • Hepatitis NSW
  • Youth Health, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. 

Evaluation 

  • The location of training, number of training sessions and attendance rates will be measured to determine the reach of training delivered to the youth-related workforce.
  • Awareness of the NSP will be assessed through feedback on Module 2, which is designed with a local service delivery focus and delivered by local NSP providers.
  • Youth workers will complete a post-training survey measuring confidence and capacity to engage with young people around injecting drug use and hepatitis C.
  • Ongoing evaluation will ensure the training package is consistent with state and national hepatitis C strategies calling for innovative ways to increase harm reduction knowledge and services available to at-risk young people.

Lessons Learnt

  •  It was a challenge to create a training package that did not default to generalised training on hepatitis C or working with marginalised youth, which are areas already covered in existing training and the remit of youth workers.
  •   Several re-writes of the program took place to ensure it met the goals of the project.

Resources

Youth At Risk Training Package (in development) 

References

  1. NSW Ministry of Health. 2014. NSW Hepatitis C Strategy 2014-2020.
  2. Commonwealth of Australia. 2014. Fourth National Hepatitis C Strategy 2014-2017.
  3. Bryant et al. The exposure and transition study: exposure to injecting and hepatitis C among young people at risk. Sydney: National Centre in HIV Social Research, The University of New South Wales; 2012.
  4. Bryant J, Wilson H, Hull P, Lavis Y, Treloar C. Drug use, hepatitis C and exposure to injecting among young people in New South Wales: The Big Day Out Survey 2006– 2009. Sydney: National Centre in HIV Social Research, The University of New South Wales; 2010.
  5. NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Health Notifiable Conditions Information Management System.

Contact

Peter Middleton
Senior Hepatitis C Project Officer
The HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Unit
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Phone: 02 9382 8616
Email: peter.middleton@sesiahs.health.nsw.gov.au

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