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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:
21 May 2021

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


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


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.


  • 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).


  • ‘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.


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.


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.


  • 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.


  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.


Peter MiddletonSenior Hepatitis C Project Officer
The HIV and Related Programs (HARP) Unit
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District
Phone: 02 9382 8616

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