New TV and Social Media Campaign Tackles First Nations HIV

A new television, social media and community campaign has been launched during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, to increase understanding of HIV and reduce new cases among First Nations people.

Page last updated: 27 November 2018

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27 November 2018

A new television, social media and community campaign has been launched during Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HIV Awareness Week, to increase understanding of HIV and reduce new cases among First Nations people.

Part of a $3.4 million project funded by our Government, through the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), the campaign aims to capitalise on a reduction in new HIV diagnoses last year.

The campaign has First Nations voices and people speaking directly to First Nations people – communicating with cultural understanding, to help ensure these lifesaving messages get through.

In 2017 there were 31 new HIV cases diagnosed in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - 30 per cent less than in 2016 - but HIV among First Australians remains too high.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionately affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

At 4.6 cases per 100,000, the per capita rate of HIV infection last year was still 1.6 times the rate for the non-Indigenous Australian-born population.

Although the majority of HIV cases in First Australians are in men who have sex with men, compared to other Australians, First Nations people are six times as likely to contract HIV as a result of injecting drugs, and more likely to contract it from heterosexual sex.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also more likely to have undiagnosed HIV.

This is particularly concerning as international evidence shows that people diagnosed with HIV who receive appropriate treatment can reduce HIV to levels so low that it is undetectable.

This reduces the risk of transmission significantly. This is known as ‘Treatment as Prevention’, and it is essential that it is better promoted and understood in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

As well as the SAHMRI education campaign, our Government is funding awareness raising about the use of HIV medicines to prevent HIV transmission - known as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP.

We have committed $1.2 million over five years for education and awareness activities about PrEP for both doctors and other prescribers, and affected communities, including First Australians.

Since April, PrEP had been available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for all. If taken daily, PrEP has been shown to be highly effective in protecting people from contracting HIV.

Our Government will provide an estimated $180 million a year in subsidies for PrEP to reduce HIV, especially among First Australians, some migrant groups, and gay and bisexual men.

To continue the fight against HIV – among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and across the whole country – we will shortly be announcing new national Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections strategies.

To view or download the new campaign resources visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCizXGcmiz9tKjrf6BvdMlOQ

Media contact: Nick Way, Media Adviser 0419 835 449

Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.

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