On 15 April 2023, AIID and Harm Reduction International (HRI) co-hosted an event focused on viral hepatitis and harm reduction at the Doherty Institute.
The event was a pre-cursor to the annual HRI conference and was hosted by the Doherty Institute in partnership with the Burnet Institute and HRI.
The pre-conference event supported the international harm reduction sector to seize new opportunities to advance progress towards 2030 targets for viral hepatitis elimination.
Global Health Theme Leader (International Research Partnerships) at the Doherty Institute Professor Peter Revill said the event was a tremendous success.
“It was an honour to host experts in viral hepatitis and harm reduction from around the world at the Institute,” he said.
“This was a fantastic opportunity to connect with colleagues and hear the latest developments and case studies in harm reduction from global viral hepatitis perspective.”
HRI Chair Naomi Burke-Shyne opened the symposium and keynote speakers and chairs included World Health Organisation Technical Officer on HIV Annette Verster, Capucine Penicaud (Hepatitis Fund), Prof. Jason Grebely (Kirby Institute), Lien Tran (Hepatitis B Voices Australia) and Professor Margaret Hellard (Burnet Institute). Inspirational video presentations were also received from harm reduction programs in Myanmar and Vietnam.
Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Viral Hepatitis Professor Ben Cowie said the particular focus on integrating hepatitis B responses into harm reduction was welcome.
“Strong advocacy from people who use drugs and people living with hepatitis B in the pre-conference event led to really important discussions focusing on the rights of people who use drugs to be protected from hepatitis B infection, know their status, and have access to affordable and appropriate treatment and care for chronic hepatitis B,” he said.
“There are more people living with chronic hepatitis B in the Asia Pacific region than any other part of the world.
“We must lead the way towards achieving the WHO 2030 hepatitis B elimination goals, and ensure access to diagnosis and care for all people living with chronic hepatitis B”