Albanese Government unveils $19.7 million HIV funding plan

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In a statement released on Wednesday, the Anthony Albanese government announced that it will allocate an additional $19.7 million in the 2023-24 Budget to fulfill its promise of eliminating HIV in Australia.

The funding package reportedly aims to “address the health disparities experienced by LGBTIQA+ people”.

“Australia can be very proud of our efforts to reduce the incidence of HIV in this country, but there is more that can be done and we have a real opportunity to stamp out this virus altogether,” Health Minister Mark Butler said in a statement.

“Thanks to the incredible work of groups like AFAO and NAPWHA, and the broader community, Australia has some of the lowest HIV infection rates in the world and we need to continue to work together to drive that down to zero.”

The funding will be in addition to the $1.3m allocated for ‘national consultations’ that was announced as part of Albanese’s first budget back in October of last year.

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia CEO Nicky Bath said the consultation process was the first step towards a 10-year action plan.

Australia leading the way for HIV Response

The additional funding comes after a study from UNSW’s Kirby Institute found that Australia is on its way to be one of the first countries to ‘virtually eliminate’ HIV transmissions.

“We are charting a path to the end of Australian HIV transmission and this commitment makes that destination clearer,”AFAO CEO Darryl O’Donnell said in a statement.

“It is reassuring that the Government has fully grasped the importance of leaving no community behind with its commitment to expand access to HIV treatment for people who are ineligible for Medicare.”

“Australia has consistently led the world in its HIV response, due to the powerful partnership between community, the medical profession and government. This package of support continues that approach and allows us to realistically advance toward the end of Australian HIV transmission,” added O’Donnell.

Overcoming barriers in the health care of LGBTQIA+ people

Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney also expressed concern over the “unacceptable health outcome disparities and significant obstacles that hinder access to adequate healthcare for LGBTIQA+ individuals.”

To tackle these issues, the government is also dedicating extra funding towards expanding HIV treatment access to those who lack Medicare coverage.

In addition, Albanese’s plan aims to extend the HIV testing vending machine pilot scheme to students in South Australia.

It also plans to provide more funding to organisations, including those that care for First Nation Australians, for Blood Borne Virus and Sexually Transmissible Infections testing and fund online information hubs.

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Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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