THE HON BILL SHORTEN
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON CATHERINE KING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
LABOR’S PLAN TO MAKE HIV HISTORY
A Shorten Labor Government will renew the effort to end HIV transmissions in Australia with a $53 million commitment to step up the fight against the disease.
Critically, this commitment will include support for the states and territories to offer the game-changing preventive medicine PrEP to another 17,500 Australians until it is listed on the PBS.
More than 1,000 Australians are still diagnosed with HIV every year, and in some areas we are going backwards. Shockingly, the rate of new infections in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is now above other Australians for the first time ever.
We have the knowledge to make HIV history – now we need the resources. Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts and neglect mean that Australia is not on track to meet its target of ending new HIV infections by 2020.
This cannot continue.
In the 1980s the Hawke Labor Government led the world with its response to the epidemic. Now, we need to renew the effort to make HIV history.
Labor will invest in protecting at-risk groups from HIV, and supporting experts and community groups to reach hidden at-risk populations.
Labor’s commitment will see:
- $10 million a year to renew Australia’s HIV response by restoring the funding and capacity that the Liberals have cut from HIV peak organisations, including the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, the National Association of People with HIV, Scarlet Alliance and the Australian Injecting and Illicit Drug Users League. Labor’s investment in these groups and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation will allow them to undertake critical engagement and communications activity with at-risk populations.
- $3 million a year to target ‘hidden populations’ – including people who aren’t diagnosed with or treated for HIV, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Labor’s investment will improve prevention, testing and treatment for these groups through new health promotion campaigns, expanding access to testing, and partnering with primary health care providers to ensure that people who are diagnosed with HIV are treated.
- $3.6 million a year for states and territories to expand their PrEP trials to an additional 17,500 patients (including establishing a trial in the Northern Territory). PrEP is a game-changing HIV prevention drug that will help break the cycle of HIV transmission in Australia. But until it is listed on the PBS, PrEP is only available to those who can afford the drug themselves or can access it through state and territory trials. Labor will fund states and territories to expand those trials to reach the people who are missing out under Malcolm Turnbull.
The Abbott-Turnbull Government has cut almost $1 billion from health promotion, undermining the community-led response to HIV in Australia and contributing to the current rate of infections.
In contrast, Labor knows how important this fight is. That’s why we are committing $53 million to renewing the fight to make HIV history in Australia.
MONDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: JOANNE CLEARY 0428 816 751