Addressing hepatitis-C-related legal, policy and practice discrimination in a post-cure world
Kate Seear, Suzanne Fraser, kylie valentine, Adrian Farrugia
Dion Kagan, Emily Lenton, Sean Mulcahy, Andrew Whalley
Hepatitis C is a major public health challenge linked to profound discrimination, including in law and policy. Significantly improved treatments called direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) were introduced in 2016, with the ability to cure hepatitis C in over 95 percent of cases. The Australian Government has invested billions of dollars in DAAs, setting the ambitious goal of achieving virtual elimination of hepatitis C in Australia by 2030. However, questions remain about the stigma and discrimination faced by people who have undergone treatment, and those who continue to be affected by hepatitis C.
This project reviews the laws, policies and practices that impact people with hepatitis C in Australia, identifying opportunities for reform that may reduce experiences of stigma and discrimination. It explores people’s experience of new treatments, and their experience of life post-cure, including whether hepatitis C-related stigma and discrimination persists and which forces shape ongoing stigma and discrimination. The project is aimed at supporting better legal, social and policy outcomes for Australians cured of hepatitis C.
The final report for this project will be published in late 2023. Once published, it will be available to download from this page.
Partners & funding
This project is funded by the Australian Research Council.
- Seear, K., Fraser, S., Farrugia, A., valentine, k. (2021) Beyond a “post-cure” world: Sketches for a new futurology of hepatitis C. International Journal of Drug Policy 94. doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.103042
This article outlines key assumptions about medical cure, establishes the importance of addressing post-cure lives and outlines a theoretical framework for examining hepatitis C futures.
- Seear, K. & Lenton, E. (2021). Becoming posthuman: Hepatitis C, the race to elimination and the politics of remaking the subject. Health Sociology Review 30(3): 229-243. doi.org/10.1080/14461242.2021.1971102
This article examines the effects of the race to eliminate hepatitis C on subjects by tracing a series of shifts in the landscape of hepatitis C policy and practice, including changes regarding consent to testing.
- Seear, K., Fraser, S., Mulcahy, S., Kagan, D., Lenton, E., Farrugia, A. & valentine, k. (2022). Echoes & Antibodies: Legal veridiction and the emergence of the perpetual hepatitis C subject. Social & Legal Studies. doi.org/10.1177/09646639221115698
This article examines legal processes pertaining to hepatitis C and argues that laws and legal processes undermine claims about a singular, post-cure world, in which people are imagined as no longer marked by hepatitis C, or subject to stigma and discrimination.
- Seear, K., Mulcahy, S., Kagan, D., Lenton, E., Fraser, S., valentine, k. & Farrugia, A. Complicating cure: How Australian criminal law shapes imagined post-hepatitis C futures. Sociology of Health and Illness. doi.org/10.1111/1467-9566.13562
This article explores how Australian criminal law continues to constitute hepatitis C as serious and disabling in ways that complicate the imagined transformation and progress of biomedical cure.
- Mulcahy, S., Seear, K., Fraser, S., Farrugia, A., Kagan, D., Lenton, E., Elphick, L., & Holas, N. (2022). Insurance discrimination and hepatitis C. Insurance Law Journal, forthcoming.
This article examines Australian case law on insurance and hepatitis C alongside recent reform to HIV insurance law. It argues that DAAs have made legal assumptions around the risks associated with hepatitis C outdated and proposes reforms to tackle discrimination.
Researchers at ARCSHS are working on more academic publications from this project. They will feature here as they are published.
Listen to a showcase of new social research on hepatis C, including findings from the post-cure lives project. Produced in collaboration with researchers from the DruGS program at ARCSHS and Hepatitis Australia.
For latest information on the project, please visit the Gender, Law and Drugs Program website and Twitter.