Australian advocacy organisations and researchers have called on the government to set a new goal to end HIV transmission in the country in four short years. The new path to end transmission, comes on the 40th anniversary of the first reported case of HIV. The organisations said that the goal can be achieved with a surprisingly modest budget – but only if the Australian government adopts and implements the plan.
Considering how much money Australians have seen being spent on the public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the improvement in the technologies, the proposed investment of $53m per year in addition to a National Partnership Agreement with the States and Territories, seems like a no brainer.
Australia can end HIV transmissions in four short years.
This previously unthinkable achievement is entirely within reach, but only if the new policy settings and investment which Agenda 2025 calls for are implemented.
— AFAO (@_afao) June 16, 2021
Nation’s top HIV clinicians, researchers, community leaders and organisations, including the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, the Kirby Institute, the Doherty Institute and others presented a consensus statement Agenda 2025: Ending HIV Transmission in Australia to Parliamentarians last week.
“This month we entered the fifth decade of the HIV epidemic. If Parliamentarians adopt this plan, we can avoid entering a sixth. The previously unthinkable achievement of ending HIV transmission is entirely within reach, but only with new policy settings and additional investment,” said Darryl O’Donnell, chief executive of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations.
“In the last few years science and technology have outpaced regulation. We need a fresh approach that expedites approval and funding of new innovations such as self and rapid testing so that they can reach those who need it. We must take the learnings from COVID-19 and establish a new public health track so tests and medicines needed in the public interest get to consumers safely and quickly.”
Graphic – "Australia can end HIV transmission by 2025. We are uniquely placed to achieve this" with AFAO logo and map of Australia. pic.twitter.com/GNr8ktSzrJ
— LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (@LGBTIQHealthAu) June 17, 2021
90 % Reduction In Transmission
AFAO‘S website also clarifies their definition of elimination when it comes to their new goal of ending HIV transmission by 2025: “Agenda 2025 adopts the UNAIDS definition of HIV elimination: a 90% reduction in Australian infections compared to a 2010 baseline.”
“Eliminating HIV means we must reach all those affected, including people from priority populations, women and heterosexual men with HIV.”
The Kirby Institute’s Professor Andrew Grulich said the plan came at a timely moment in Australia’s HIV response.
“The rollout of new prevention technologies has led to a sharp decline in new HIV diagnoses amongst gay and bisexual men in inner cities, but progress elsewhere has been patchy. Australia has the opportunity to lead the world by going the final stretch,” said Grulich.
“Medical research has developed new methods of HIV prevention that are close to 100% effective. This plan for investment in prevention, testing, treatment and combating stigma provides the path forward for implementation which can deliver the virtual elimination of HIV.”
Australians LOVE PrEP!
As reported in the Star Observer in April this year, one of the main reasons we can even be considering the end of HIV Transmission with Agenda 2025 is our already low rates of HIV transmission, thanks in large part to Australia’s embrace of PrEP. With new dosing techniques available, you don’t even have to take a pill every day – you decide what’s best for you and your individual lifestyle!