The federal Greens have announced their plans to channel $10 million in funding per year towards HIV prevention efforts in Australia, along with an additional $1 million per year towards campaigns tackling HIV stigma.
The announcement, made to coincide with World AIDS Day tomorrow, will assist in the country’s target of virtually eliminating new HIV transmissions by 2020.
Greens leader and doctor, Richard di Natale, said Australians were in a position to end HIV.
“The Greens will invest $10 million a year into organisations that do the incredibly important work of combating and preventing HIV,” he said.
“We welcome the government’s announcement of HIV self-testing on the Therapeutic Goods Administration – a move that will go some way towards reducing the harm that stigma causes, but it doesn’t yet go far enough.
“While Australia has had some success in reducing the transmission of HIV, we need to plan a process that will result in ending HIV.”
Greens senator Janet Rice said the additional $1 million per year will help to fund national campaigns addressing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.
“We’re also committing an additional $1 million per year into national campaigns that break down HIV stigma and discrimination, encourage safer sex, and encourage regular testing,” she said.
“We know that reducing stigma and discrimination will lead to more people getting tested which is essential to eliminating HIV.”
Researchers have said the goal of ending new HIV transmissions in Australia by 2020 could be out of reach if more isn’t done to address rising transmissions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia earlier this year revealed that rates of new HIV transmissions had risen by 33 per cent since 2012.
New HIV diagnoses rose from 4.8 per 100,000 people in 2012 to 6.4 people per 100,000 in 2016, where rates declined by 22 per cent in non-Indigenous people across the same period.
The paper said that of the 17,000 people enrolled in PrEP trials around Australia, approximately 200 were Indigenous.