The Australian Government has used the delayed 2020 Federal Budget to commit to funding for several vital areas of hepatitis research, including pathogen genomics, prison-based interventions, and point-of-care testing. However, Australia’s hepatitis community has a right to view this commitment with some scepticism.
The national organisation representing people who use drugs, AIVL has applauded the Australian Greens’ courageous leadership in adopting an evidence-based drug policy that focuses on saving lives.
The Australian Greens holistic policy on Drugs, Substance Abuse and Addition encompasses not just illicit drugs but also tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals. The policy, in a nutshell, adopts a harm-minimisation approach that addresses addiction as a health issue with treatments covered by Medicare.
There are 14 principles on issues including harm minimisation, evidence-base approach, alcohol, tobacco, access to services, education and Aboriginal control of responses to the drug use issues in their communities.
Misinformation has reared its ugly head again as South Australians waded into the debate over the Du Plessis ball tampering drama.
The South African cricket captain’s controversial habit of polishing the ball with his saliva earned him a fine, and raised a storm of letters to The Advertiser. Among them was one titled “Dirty Saliva”, from Robert McRitchie, which proclaimed dramatically, and wrongly, that “SALIVA is a perfect medium for transmission of infectious viral diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C, just to name two.”
The Federal Government’s response to the ‘Silent Disease’ inquiry into hepatitis C in Australia falls well short of what anyone living with hepatitis C could have hoped. Coming nearly 18 months after the report was submitted, the response fully accepted only three out of ten of the recommendations.
The Silent Disease Report was a comprehensive study from the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, and can be read online here. It made 10 main recommendations about the way the Australian Government should respond to the ongoing epidemic.