National Hepatitis Awareness Week started on May 17 and ends on May 23.

As part of the week’s activities, more than 140 young people from metropolitan Sydney and regional NSW have participated in a health promotion art competition that was launched at CarriageWorks on May 18.

Hepatitis NSW’s Street Shots photo-essay project involved 12 youth and health services in 13 suburbs and towns around Sydney and greater NSW.

Young people discussed how the blood-borne hepatitis C virus is contracted largely through sharing drug-injecting equipment, but also through unsterile tattooing and piercing. They were then encouraged to consider the supports and challenges they face around these issues when creating their artwork.

The resulting photo-essays explore the impact of risky behaviour on lifelong health and how to avoid exposure to hep C. The Street Shots exhibition runs at Carriageworks until May 21.

This push for greater awareness of hepatitis C amongst youth is in line with that age group’s over-representation as hepatitis C sufferers in NSW.

According to Hepatitis NSW, people aged 16 to 30 people account for 32 percent (or an estimated 27,000) of the 85,000 people in NSW who live with chronic hepatitis C. However, that age group makes up only 20 percent of the Australian population.

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