Australia pledges to end new HIV transmissions by 2030

Tanya Plibersek and HIV sector leaders following the signing. Photo: Supplied.

The Albanese Government is investing $43.9 million to help Australia eliminate transmission of HIV by 2030 through a range of measures recommended by the National HIV Taskforce.

This funding will be aimed at better prevention, improved access to testing and information, reducing stigma, and increasing training around HIV health and support in the workforce.

The Hon Tanya Plibersek, Federal Member for Sydney, attended a May 21 event hosted by ACON in Surry Hills to witness the signing of the “U=U” agreement by Health Minister Mark Butler MP along with key partners in the HIV and community health and research sector.

U=U stands for ‘Undetectable equals Untransmissible’ which the Albanese Government committed Australia to this week as a part of the world-wide Prevention Access Campaign.

Australia is only the fourth country in the world to sign on to the campaign so far, and the signing was also witnessed by representatives from Australia’s LGBTQIA+ community health sector including Health Equity Matters, National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), ACON, Australasian Society of HIV, and the Burnett Institute.

“I am delighted that the Albanese Labor Government has committed $43.9 million in funding to put in place programs and initiatives that can realistically lead to the elimination of transmission of HIV within the Australian community by 2030,” Tanya Plibersek MP said following the signing.

“The centrepiece of this package is a $26 million investment to provide subsidised access to PrEP for people living in Australia who are not eligible for Medicare.

“We will work together with our partners to make a real difference. Our nation can lead the world by showing the once impossible goal of eliminating HIV transmission is achievable.”

Health Equity Matters CEO, Dash Heath-Paynter, welcomed the funding and campaign.

“The foundation of Australia’s success in preventing HIV is the strong bonds between community, government, clinicians and researchers,” Heath-Paynter said.

“Minister Butler’s decision to champion U=U is exactly the sort of leadership that will propel us forward and accelerate virtual elimination of HIV transmission.”

Prevention Access Campaign (PAC) founding Executive Director Bruce Richman said it was great to see Australia stepping up as one of the first countries to back the campaign at a national level.

“PAC and the U=U campaign are delighted that Australia has officially signed onto this declaration, setting the example as a world leader in the HIV response and being community led,” Richman said.

“We congratulate HEM, NAPWHA and ASHM along with the Australian Health Minister Mark Butler for making this happen.

“Becoming a signatory to the declaration will ensure the principles of U=U are integrated into the country’s HIV response, and that communities continue to lead the way.”

U=U is an evidence-based principle that recognises that people with HIV with undetectable viral loads, thanks to treatment, cannot transmit HIV through sexual contact.

The main aims of the U=U document and the Prevention Access Campaign are to:

-Develop national strategies for effective and sustainable programs informed by communities and individuals impacted.

-Integrate U=U science into HIV guidelines/communications.

-Implement policies to address inequities, barriers and that increase care and treatment.

-Include U=U as a mandatory part of existing HIV prevention, care, research, services, policies and programs.

-Use U=U in health education & promotion efforts.

-Conduct U=U awareness campaigns for general public.

-Improve access and uptake of HIV treatment and viral load testing.

Also present for the signing were:

-Mark Orr AM, President, Health Equity Matters
-Dash Heath-Paynter, CEO, Health Equity Matters
-Ben Wilcock, National Programs Manager, Health Equity Matters
-Scott Harlum, President, National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA)
-Karen Price, Deputy CEO, ACON
-Matthew Vaughan, Director of HIV and Sexual Health, ACON
-Alexis Apostolellis, CEO, Australasian Society of HIV
-Chad Hughes, Deputy Director, International Operations, Burnett Institute

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

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

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