The Problem

What’s the challenge?

An estimated 50,000 people are infected with hepatitis C in Aotearoa New Zealand, that is 1 in 100 people. Hepatitis C is highly stigmatised as it is often associated with previous unsafe blood practices. The challenge is to normalise a “test and treat” campaign on this highly stigmatised public health campaign.

Of the 50,000 people with the virus in New Zealand over 50% are undiagnosed. The challenge is to test people for hepatitis C; to ensure patients are not stigmatised when diagnosed; to treat those who find out they have the HCV virus; and to promote the health and wellbeing that comes once cured of the virus. For those who know they have the virum, many may be unaware there is a new, highly successful treatment available. They need to know about this so that they can be treated and cured.

Join us as we embark on a national campaign to raise awareness.


Success will depend on stakeholders coming together. We are calling for:

1. A public health campaign – based on positive, future focused messaging, shifting the conversation to the ability to improve one’s health and wellbeing through treatment and cure. We consider campaigns focused on how a patient contracted the virus to be unhelpful. The hep C butterfly is a tool that can be used in a future focused campaign.

2. A Collaborative Approach – to seize the opportunity to eliminate this global top 5 infectious disease we need government, not-for-profit, private enterprise, philanthropic entities and individuals to come together to work on the elimination campaign. One sector alone will not reach the elimination targets. We recognise the role each of the stakeholders brings. Hep C Action is actively working with national, regional and local contributors.

3. Humanising the campaign – we see the value for patient voices to be at the heart of the elimination strategy. Putting faces and voices to the campaign destigmatises and normalises the conversation and goes a long way to encourage others to get tested.

4. Funding Support – we acknowledge the role each of the stakeholders plays in an elimination campaign. It is essential funding flows to all stakeholders, especially the not-for-profit sector to fund their work in eliminating hep C.

The Team

Hep C Action Aotearoa is a patient advocacy group based in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our work is based on 1000s of volunteer hours supporting patients, and encouraging an awareness campaign that confronts the stigma and encourages people to get tested and treated. Our work transcends national boundaries. It supports, and is supported by similar initiatives in other countries.

We are proudly supported by Seed the Change | He Kākano Hāpai, and work closely with internationally renowned Dr. James Freeman of FixHepC.

Hazel Heal

Hazel Heal is Hep C Action’s lead. She lived with hepatitis C for over 30 years. In 2015, Hazel faced...

Rachel Stace

Rachel is living hep C free having been successfully treated with Viekira Pak in 2016. In the early 2000s, she...

Dr. James Freeman

James practices in Hobart, Tasmania and is the founding owner and executive director of FixSIBO. In 2014, a patient of...

Anake Goodall

Anake got a sharp wake-up call in early 2017 with a diagnosis of hep C as a result of a...

Claire Newman

Claire first heard about the inequality in access to Hepatitis C treatments when Hazel connected with Seed the Change |...

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