Cash windfall for HIV organisations
2 min read

A significant step has been taken towards virtually eliminating HIV transmission in Australia after the Australian Government made extensive funding promises in their recent budget. But will it be enough?

With a $43.9 million investment, the plan focuses on expanding access to preventative measures, testing, and education, particularly within high-risk communities.

President of Health Equity Matters, formerly the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, Mark Orr AM said the budget commitment lights a bright path.


“It leverages the robust and impactful collaboration between community, healthcare professionals, researchers, and government that has been instrumental in Australia’s success since the beginning of the HIV epidemic,” Mr Orr said.

The funding will be directed towards:

  • National rollout of self-testing vending machines: This builds upon existing successful programs, making testing more readily available for individuals who need to test frequently.
  • Pilot program for culturally diverse communities: This initiative aims to better educate these communities on HIV prevention methods and encourage testing.
  • Continued support for HIV Online Learning Australia: This program plays a vital role in equipping the HIV workforce with the necessary knowledge and resources.
  • Restored funding for key HIV organisations: Health Equity Matters and NAPWHA, Australia’s peak HIV organisations, will regain financial support.

This investment is the first step towards achieving near-zero HIV transmission, aligning with the recommendations of the HIV Taskforce led by Health Minister Mark Butler and Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney.

“Australia now has the potential to become the first country to achieve virtual elimination of HIV,” declared Mr Orr.

Mark Orr AM
Mark Orr AM

While diagnoses have halved over the past decade, with 555 cases in 2022, the recent Kirby Institute HIV surveillance report highlighted a concerning trend. Increases were observed among heterosexual individuals, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, and in specific regions.

“When attempting to overcome an epidemic, the final stretch will be the most challenging,” Health Equity Matters chief executive, Dash Heath-Paynter said.

“This is why the Government’s commitment to ending HIV transmission is so crucial. We must maintain our momentum.”

While the budget acknowledges the ongoing challenge, critics argue the resources allocated are insufficient.

The success of this initiative hinges on continued government commitment and a more comprehensive strategy that addresses the needs of all at-risk communities.

Last Updated on May 16, 2024

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