$32.5 million every year for the next three years could end HIV transmission in Australia
The Australian government is set to vote on a plan which could drastically reduce HIV transmissions at the cost of £32.5 million for the next three years.
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisation’s HIV Blueprint is a fully costed plan which will stop over 2,000 potential HIV transmissions in the next three years if funded.
Currently, an average of about 1000 people are diagnosed with HIV every year in the country.
The Federation is seeking an additional $32.5 million for the next three years to carry out the plan.
If fully funded, they believe by 2020 the Australian government will have saved $82 million in the costs of providing treatment.
The HIV Blueprint programme would invest in national education programmes on HIV, targeting the “hidden populations who are at risk as well as promoting HIV prevention drug Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
PrEP, also known as Truvada, can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV, and is available in a number of countries to at-risk groups including men who have sex with men, sex workers and people in serodiscordant relationships.
The plan will also promote safe sex and increased testing.
HIV rapid testing and HIV self-testing will also be promoted.
Darryl O’Donnell, chief executive officer of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, said that they hope Australia can be the first country in the world to end HIV transmission.
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O’Donnell said: “Australia is at an inflexion point. HIV transmission has plateaued at approximately one thousand notifications per year for the past five years. Yet the capacity to end HIV transmission is within reach. Just as we led the world in containing HIV in the 1980s, we can now lead the world in ending transmission.”
“To reach a goal this worthwhile and ambitious will take great effort. We won’t get there through business as usual. Most of all, it means we must provide greater support for communities working to end HIV transmission.”
He added that as well as being beneficial in terms of humanity, ending HIV will have a positive impact financially.
“Ending HIV transmission is the right thing to do. Many thousands of Australians will be spared the stigma and discrimination that continues to flourish in the shadows of this virus.
“It makes extraordinary financial sense. If we invest to end HIV transmission now, we will enjoy huge net savings over time.”