Viral

A deadly short film about smashing hepatitis C

Originally staged as a play which toured in 2018 and 2019, VIRAL is a short film made with mob for mob about navigating hepatitis C. The project has been supported by long term partners of ILBIJERRI, the Victorian Government's Department of Health, as part of a series of works tackling health and social issues.

What's it all about?

Sifting through myths, smashing stigma, and getting the right information can seem like an impossible dream – but preventing and curing hepatitis C is now easier than you might think.

Join Ally and Kev who live up in the flats. They’ve got their own little place, a brand new baby and dreams for the future. Life should be good but sometimes things don’t always go to plan.

Meet Merv who hasn’t been feeling great lately, not for some years in fact. Years of tough luck, bad choices and hard living have finally caught up with him.

They’re all looking at one final chance to make things right before it’s too late.

BACKGROUND

In 2005, ILBIJERRI was approached by the Victorian Government Department of Health & Human Services to develop a play that would communicate hepatitis C prevention and education messages in a culturally appropriate way to the Indigenous community. It was understood that live performance, particularly comedy, is an effective tool in breaking down social boundaries where certain concepts and issues are considered too confronting to publicly discuss.

In 2018, the stage play VIRAL followed on from our widely acclaimed works CHOPPED LIVER and BODY ARMOUR - three exciting instalments in ILBIJERRI’s trilogy of hepatitis C health works - aimed at breaking down stigma, promoting healing, and getting our Community hep C free.

Created through an in-depth engagement process, including community workshops and yarning circles, VIRAL was remounted for a second regional tour in 2019, following its inaugural tour in 2018, and once again performed in community centres, schools and prisons.

VIRAL was due to have its third and final community tour in 2020 as a live theatre show. In response to Covid restrictions and the unlikely chance of getting the work out into community spaces, prisons, and health centres, the production was re-imagined as a film to be rolled out in 2022.

We hope to engage in further conversation with Community about the film after its full release on 26 July.

Watch True Stories

Health Information

New tablets kill the Hepatitis C virus:

  • 95% of people are cured
  • Treatment is one pill each day for 8 - 12 weeks (No injections)
  • Treatment is safe: few side effects (e.g. headache)

Hepatitis treatment protects us all. Yarn it up with your doctor: it doesn’t matter how you got it.

Ask for a blood borne virus test at your next health check.

Get checked and get cured

Hep C facts:

Hepatitis C is a virus. Without treatment hepatitis C can shorten your life.

About 182,144 Australians are living with the hepatitis C virus[1]. In Victoria, the rate of newly diagnosed Hep C is 20 times higher in Aboriginal communities[2].

You can only get the hepatitis C virus when blood with hepatitis C enters your bloodstream.

You can get it again - so don’t share diabetes prickers, injecting, tattooing or piercing equipment.

You can’t get hepatitis C by sharing food, cups, and hugs or kisses, or from toilets or mozzies!

[1] Kirby Institute Annual Surveillance Report (2018) https://kirby.unsw.edu.au/report/hiv-viral-hepatitis-and-sexually-transmissible-infections-australia-annual-surveillance

[2] DHHS Annual Surveillance report (2018)


This project has been commissioned by the Victorian State Government via the Department of Health.

With special thanks to LiverWELL incorporating Hepatitis Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS), Justice Health via Department of Justice and Community Safety, Thorne Harbour Health, the Burnet Institute, and the Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health (CERSH).

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