The Australian Government is delivering on its commitment to eliminate HIV transmission in Australia, and address the health disparities experienced by LGBTIQA+ people.
An additional $19.7 million in the 2023–24 Budget will ensure better access to HIV testing, treatment and information, including support for the HIV workforce and to continue to address other Blood Borne Virus (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI).
The Government will:
- expand access to HIV treatment for people who are ineligible for Medicare to ensure no one is left behind
- extend the HIV testing vending machine pilot to increase access to HIV testing for students in South Australia
- fund the Emen8 website, a critical information hub for sharing HIV information for members of the LGBTIQA+ community
- fund the HIV Online Learning Australia program to provide up-to-date education and training for the HIV workforce
- provide additional support for BBV and STI peaks ($2.9 million) including for the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and National Association of People with HIV in Australia (NAPWHA) to drive the national response
- provide funding to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations for BBV and STI testing, treatment and care services for First Nations Australians ($5.0 million).
This investment continues the implementation of the Eighth National HIV Strategy (2018–2022), and provides a platform for the important work of the HIV Taskforce, announced by the Government in December 2022, encompassing the development of the Ninth National HIV Strategy. It will bring Australia closer to its goal of ending HIV transmission by 2030.
The Government is also developing the 10 Year National Action Plan for the Health and Wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people and will establish an LGBTIQA+ Health Advisory Group to break down barriers to accessing health care.
The action plan will be developed in consultation with the LGBTIQA+ community and will help address the inequity faced by too many.
This announcement comes as Minister Butler and Assistant Minister Kearney co-chair the inaugural HIV Taskforce meeting in Sydney.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“Australia can be very proud of our efforts to reduce the incidence of HIV in this country, but there is more that can be done and we have a real opportunity to stamp out this virus altogether.
“Thanks to the incredible work of groups like AFAO and NAPWHA, and the broader community, Australia has some of the lowest HIV infection rates in the world and we need to continue to work together to drive that down to zero.
“In addition to being overrepresented in HIV statistics, LGBTIQA+ Australians continue to face bias and discrimination in the health system – an unacceptable situation in Australia in 2023.”
Quotes attributable to Assistant Minister Kearney:
“The Government recognises that there are unacceptable disparities in health outcomes and significant barriers to getting the health care LGBTIQA+ people deserve and we are determined to address this inequity.
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come and I’m even prouder to stand beside so many fierce advocates in the LBGTIQA+ community that have fought to get Australia where we are today – but the fight is not over.
“The 10 Year National Action Plan for the Health and Wellbeing of LGBTIQA+ people will guide the reforms needed to ensure LGBTIQA+ Australians are given every chance to live healthier lives.”