THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND MEDICARE
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
PrEP LISTING A GOOD STEP, BUT MORE MUST BE DONE
Confirmation that the HIV prevention treatment pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be added to the PBS is an extremely welcome step – but we can’t stop there in the fight against HIV in Australia.
PrEP is undoubtedly a game changer, and it’s exciting that affordable access to the treatment will be available to everyone who needs it. This is a testament to the researchers and advocates who have been relentless in fighting for better access to the treatment across the country, and we congratulate them on this news.
But this doesn’t mean the fight is finished – more will need to be done if Australia is to reach the goal of no new HIV infections by 2020.
This listing must be accompanied by additional funding to ensure everyone gets the message and tools to prevent HIV.
Labor is committed to renewing the effort to end HIV transmissions in Australia – that’s why we committed $53 million to step up the fight against the disease.
This includes restoring the funding and capacity that the Liberals have cut from HIV peak organisations, which will allow them to undertake critical engagement and communications activity with at-risk populations.
Importantly, it also involves funding efforts to target hidden populations who aren’t being reached by current health promotion activities. Labor will provide $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.
We have the knowledge to end new HIV transmissions in Australia – now we need to equip our experts with the tools to do so. The PrEP listing is great news but it can’t be the end of the Federal Government’s work in tackling HIV.
WEDNESDAY, 21 MARCH 2018