A Liberal Nationals Government will commit to the 2030 95-95-95 United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) target by 2025, while investing $3.6m in rapid HIV testing.
The target aims to have 95% of people living with HIV diagnosed, 95% of people diagnosed with HIV accessing treatment and 95% of people on HIV treatment having an undetectable viral load.
Hitting the 2030 UNAIDS target 5 years early will improve treatment and the quality of life for people with HIV, help reduce stigma and contribute to the international goal to eliminate the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
The number of new HIV cases has remained relatively stable across Australia over the past 5 years. There were 302 new cases of HIV in Victoria in 2017 and it is estimated there are approximately 7,400 Victorians living with HIV.
Victoria is on track to hit the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target by 2020. The most recent data has Victoria achieving 88-95-94, and while we are making good progress there are still 12% of Victorians living with HIV who remain undiagnosed. We have more work to do getting those individuals to be tested and to start treatment.
The Liberal Nationals $3.6m commitment will fund an Australian first mobile testing van, allowing PRONTO! the capability to take peer delivered rapid testing to new communities in Melbourne and across rural/regional Victoria. The funding will also enable to continuation of the PRONTO! Service in Fitzroy.
In 2013 the Liberal Nationals Government funded Australia’s first rapid HIV testing service. By the end of 2017, PRONTO had tested over 7,700 individuals, diagnosing 61 HIV positive clients.
PRONTO’s unique peer testing model has successfully reached groups of people who were previously at risk of HIV but were being missed by existing services. PRONTO also provides STI testing and PrEP to clients at risk of HIV.
Earlier this year the Federal Liberal Government funded PrEP on the PBS. The listing brought the cost of the drug, which prevents transmission of HIV, down from $1,000 a month, to $39.50 for general patients or $6.40 for concession cardholders.
The Liberal Nationals are committed to investing in accessible and affordable health care for all Victorians.
Comments attributable to the Shadow Minister for Health, Mary Wooldridge:
If we’re to achieve this ambitious new target, we need to commit to easier HIV testing, for more Victorians, more often.
The number of HIV cases in Victoria hasn’t declined in the last 5 years, it’s again time to shake things up and rollout new programs to ensure all at risk individuals can easily get tested.
HIV affects us all. We need to break down stigma and discrimination - which is a central part of achieving our new 95-95-95 by 2025 target.