The AIDS 2014 Legacy Statement, which was agreed by all Health Ministers when they met in June, commits each of the nine jurisdictions – the Australian Government and the eight States and Territories – to take all necessary action, in partnerships with key affected communities and sector partners, to remove barriers to testing, treatment, prevention, care and support, across legal, regulatory, policy, social, political and economic domains.
Australia has a strong record of non-partisan leadership in responding to the HIV epidemic - resulting in one of the lowest prevalence rates in the world.
However, HIV cases are increasing and to discuss what is needed to reinvigorate the Australian response, in February 2014, a national Roundtable was convened with community, research and scientific leaders.
The outcome of this roundtable was the development of this exciting and ambitious Legacy Statement.
Commonwealth Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, said after three decades of responding to HIV in Australia, now is the time for all Australian governments, clinicians and researchers, community and professional organisations, and individuals to rejuvenate our response to create a future without HIV.
“Our local, regional and global epidemic is dynamic and we need to be flexible in our response to new emerging affected populations, and take full advantage of advances in treatment and prevention science,” he said.
Victorian Health Minister David Davis said: “We are at a critical point in the fight against HIV/AIDS and we need to work together to take advantage of the progress we have made to understand, prevent and treat this disease.”
NSW Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research Jillian Skinner said: “I look forward to the day when we can say that we have ended the HIV epidemic together. There can be no worthier legacy of AIDS 2014."
All Health Ministers jointly affirmed that 30 years after the discovery of the HIV virus the HIV epidemic remained one of the greatest public health challenges of our time.
“We have the tools and the science to achieve the goal of the virtual elimination of new HIV transmissions in Australia by 2020. If we do not act decisively now our transmission rates will continue to rise,” the Ministers said.
“Exciting developments in research, treatment and prevention have led many political, scientific and community leaders around the world to acknowledge the real possibility of achieving an ‘AIDS-free generation’, and eventually a cure.
“As Australia’s Health Ministers we dedicate ourselves to achieving this legacy where HIV and AIDS are consigned to history for current and future generations.”
Andrew Blow, Minister Dutton’s Office, 0411 403 937
Liz Hannan, Minister Skinner’s Office, 0427 232 671
Ashley Gardiner, Minister Davis’ Office, 0427 560 438
Kay McNiece, COAG Health Council, 0412 132 585