ONE of the Australia’s leading AIDS health organisations has expressed concern at announcements made in regards to health in last night’s Federal Budget.

In a statement to the Star Observer, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) as indicated the imposition of seven dollar bulk billing co-payments could act as a barrier to HIV testing.

The organisation stated that Australia had a target of reducing new HIV transmission by 50 per cent by 2015, but in order to achieve this, current testing rates needed to at least double.

AFAO executive director Rob Lake said any policy that created barriers to testing HIV status should be reconsidered.

“A combination of advocacy, testing and access to HIV medicine means we have an historic opportunity to defeat HIV,” he said.

“However, that could be compromised if testing is wound back.

“In order to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in HIV transmission by 2015, we need to double testing.

“Australia is at a crossroads with HIV, we need to forge ahead to drive down the transmission rate.”

AFAO is a non-profit national organisation for the community response to HIV in Australia, with state-based AIDS councils as members.

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