Territory Stories

The chronicle



The chronicle

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Chronic Diseases Network of the Northern Territory


The Chronicle newsletters; Chronic Diseases Network newsletters; E-Journals; PublicationNT




Date:2013-03; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Chronic diseases -- Northern Territory -- Treatment -- Periodicals; Chronic Diseases Network of the Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Chronic Diseases Network of the Northern Territory

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v. 25 no. 1

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27March 2013 G EN ER A L A R TIC LES throughout the Indigenous population continues with trips planned to Daly River, the Barunga Festival, Lajamanu and Hermannsburg, which will build on previous community engagement with the Tiwi Islands and Santa Teresa. The future for those 1600 people on organ transplant lists around the country may be somewhat unknown. Yet awareness and support for donation continues to increase amongst a variety of groups within the population, inclusive of males, Indigenous people, culture and religion. The general act of doing good often overcomes the fears of death and end of life, especially in consideration of donation and feeling assured the decision one makes is informed. For more information about organ and tissue donation please contact DonateLife NT on 08 8922 8349 or visit www.donatelife.gov.au Continued from Page 26 Living With and Treating Hep C - Interview with Fiona Clarke Andy Ewing, Communications Coordinator Northern Territory Aids & Hepatitis Council Fiona Clarke has been living in the Territory for nearly 15 years. Shes a 52 year old grandmother, and has lived a rich, generous and colorful life. She is one of the 3914 Territorians living with Hep C, on the current register (established in 1995) What is Hep C? Lots of people have heard of Hepatitis C (Hep C) but not many know what it is. Its a bloodborne virus that can cause serious health problems including cirrhosis of the liver. In Australia, approximately 221,000 people have chronic Hep C. Since 1989 I have been one of them. What was it like living with chronic Hep C? While Ive been lucky and havent developed any major health problems, living with Hep C affected me in many ways: physically, mentally and emotionally. Sadly, there is still a lot of stigma attached to having Hep C as it is primarily transmitted through injecting drug use, so it wasnt something I wanted to talk about although it was always in the back of my mind that I was Hep C Positive and that it was potentially lethal. As the disease progressed my liver wasnt functioning properly which made me tired, the virus dulled my brain - known as brain-fog - and thoughts of dying from liver disease were never far away. You attend the Hep C Support Group run by NTAHC*. Do many women attend? What are the issues for women living with Hep C? Yes, other women apart from myself attend the NTAHCs monthly Hep C Support Group meetings on a regular basis. Women living with Hep C have additional issues to consider. They are often concerned that they can transmit the virus via menstrual blood although this is very unlikely. There is also a slight risk that Hep C can be transmitted while giving birth. Hep C is not a barrier to breast feeding, although it is suggested that if the nipples are cracked the milk should be expressed and discarded as there is a slight chance the virus could be transmitted to the baby. While the risk of transmission via menstrual blood, childbirth and breast-feeding is very small, knowing your baby may be at risk can cause additional stress when living with Hep C. I gave birth and breast-fed 2 children while Hep C Positive, they are now 23 and 17 years old and did not contract the virus. What can you do if you have Hep C? Treatment for Hep C has come a long way over the past 23 years, so fi nally, in June 2011 I was ready to try to rid myself of this debilitating virus. For 6 months I injected myself under the skin in my stomach weekly with Pegylated Interferon and took Ribavarin tablets twice a day. It wasnt easy; my side-effects included nausea, fever, headaches, weight-loss, depression, and extreme lethargy. Im very grateful that my 32 Continued on Page 28