Australian politicians are being lobbied to spend an additional $212 million ($53 million a year over four years) of public money in an attempt to reach HIV elimination at some point in 2025.
As claimed in the “Agenda 2025″ document, the changes in policy and increase in funding will avert over 6,000 infections by 2030 and save $1.4 billion in health costs.
Big-ticket items in the plan include $80 million ($20 million per year) on advertising campaigns, $48 million ($12 million per year) for an extension of HIV treatment/clinical care, up to $40 million ($10 million per year) for increased PrEP subsidies and $20 million ($5 million per year) for further research in the understanding and monitoring of HIV stigma.
Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations CEO Darryl O’Donnell and the Kirby Institute’s Professor Andrew Grulich presented the plan to parliamentarians in Canberra this morning on behalf of the nation’s top HIV clinicians, researchers and community leaders.
Speaking with the media inside Parliament House O’Donnell said this is the fifth decade of the HIV epidemic and if parliamentarians adopt the plan, Australia 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,” O’Donnell said.
“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.”
Almost 40 million people are currently living with HIV globally, and 2019 saw 1.7 million newly infected people.
29,054 people in Australia were estimated to be living with HIV at the end of 2019. There were 903 new notifications in 2019 after only 833 notifications in 2018.
The lobbying statement suggests that if they receive an additional $53 million a year and change policy settings, it would lead to a 90% reduction in HIV infections, compared to 2010. This requires 95% of people at risk of HIV using one or more forms of effective prevention; 95% of people with HIV diagnosed and treated; and 98% achieving undetectable viral load.
Professor 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,” Professor Grulich said.
“Australia has the opportunity to lead the world by going the final stretch.
“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.”
Download Agenda 2025 here.
Last Updated on Jun 17, 2021