Canberra, Australia — 17 June 2021: Australia can end HIV transmission within four short years, averting over 6,000 infections by 2030 and saving $1.4 billion in health costs, according to a costed plan that was presented to parliamentarians today.
Agenda 2025: Ending HIV Transmission in Australia is a consensus statement that draws on the expertise of the nation’s top HIV clinicians, researchers and community leaders, including the AFAO (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations), the Kirby Institute, the Doherty Institute and many others.
It finds that with annual additional investment of $53 million and fresh policy settings, HIV transmission could be ended within the next term of parliament (by 2025). The statement calls for investment in prevention, testing and treatment, along with a renewed campaign against the stigma associated with HIV.
Taken together, this would provide a path to a 90% reduction in HIV infections, compared to 2010. This requires 95% of people at risk of HIV using one or more forms of effective prevention; 95% of people with HIV diagnosed and treated; and 98% achieving undetectable viral load.
NAPWHA President, Scott Harlum, opened the launch of the AFAO Agenda 2025 with the message:
“The concept of ‘ending HIV’ is sometimes hard for people living with the virus to fathom.”
“For us, a world without HIV either means finding a cure or our own departure from this mortal plane. While we remain hopeful that a cure for HIV will be found some day, Agenda 25 demonstrates that ending the transmission of HIV is achievable and is within sight.”
“But, while it can be done – it can’t be done without us, and people with HIV remain dedicated to playing our part in achieving that end. People living with HIV have been and will remain integral to efforts to end HIV transmission in Australia – put simply, we know the market because we are the market.”
Find out more about the AFAO Agenda 2025 Blueprint: Ending HIV Transmission in Australia
Agenda 2025 is a fully costed plan which draws upon evidence based research and is backed by top researchers, leaders, and clinicians in Australia’s community-led HIV response.
With an annual additional investment of $53 million and fresh policy settings, HIV transmission could be ended within the next term of parliament. This statement calls for investment in prevention, testing and treatment, along with a renewed campaign against the stigma associated with HIV.
Read the full opening address by Scott Harlum at the Agenda 2025 launch
Thank you to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO) and the Parliamentary Friends group for inviting the National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA) to be part of this launch of Agenda 2025 – a blueprint for ending HIV transmission in Australia.
The concept of ‘ending HIV’ is sometimes hard for people living with the virus to fathom.
For us, a world without HIV either means finding a cure or our own departure from this mortal plane.
But of course, ‘ending HIV’ means no such thing.
While we remain hopeful that a cure for HIV will be found some day, Agenda ’25 demonstrates that ending the transmission of HIV is achievable and is within sight.
But, while it can be done – it can’t be done without us, and people with HIV remain dedicated to playing our part in achieving that end.
People living with HIV have been and will remain integral to efforts to end HIV transmission in Australia – put simply, we know the market because we are the market.
Ask any of us what we fear the most and chances are that passing on this life-long virus to our friends and lovers is likely high on our list.
Before PrEP and PEP even, long before we even thought that treatment could provide prevention, we were ending HIV.
We were educating our partners in the bedroom and in the cubicles at the sauna, insisting on condoms when the option to not use them was there.
Even, in the early days, counselling friends and family to be careful not to use our razors or toothbrushes.
That’s why when treatments became easier to take, when we knew that taking them as soon as possible was better for us and even that treatment prevented transmission … it was a no brainer.
That’s why 92% of us are on treatment and why we are behind shifting this to 98%.
We’re also behind encouraging everyone to find the best treatment for them so that they can do their best to reach undetectable. And for those who can’t, to understand that any treatment is some form of prevention.
I want to briefly mention the latest United Nations Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS endorsed last week by the General Assembly.
I had the honour of representing people living with HIV in Australia as part of the Australian delegation to the High Level Meeting, albeit huddled by a blow heater in my office at home in the wee small hours via video, rather than on the floor of the general assembly.
I want to publicly congratulate Ambassador Fifield and the Australian Team who co-facilitated the session with Namibia for wrangling through the UN process a declaration which, while not perfect, is bold and progressive, and which recognises the central place of affected populations and communities in the global HIV response.
Amongst other things, the declaration adopted commits Australia to implementing the GIPA Principle, or the Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV, to play our critical leadership role in the HIV response.
The Declaration also commits Australia to increasing the proportion of HIV services delivered by communities and community-led organizations, and to the institutionalisation of peer-led responses to HIV.
The Greater Involvement of People Living With HIV has been a cornerstone of Australia’s world-renowned response to HIV, and it will need to continue to be if we are to achieve the goal of Ending HIV transmission in Australia as set out in Agenda 25 launched here today.
We are grateful that, amongst other things, that Agenda 25 includes quality of life and stigma markers and recognizes quality of life for people living with HIV as an important part of this Agenda.
And we are grateful that Agenda 25 more generally recognizes that people living with HIV are a vital force behind this movement, and critical to ending HIV transmission in Australia.
Agenda 25 is a bold and exciting plan – through its implementation we can end the transmission of HIV in Australia, and what a wonderful goal that is to commit ourselves to.
On behalf of NAPWHA, our positive member organisations and networks, and on behalf of the 30,000 or so people living with HIV in Australia, it is my great pleasure to endorse AFAO’s Agenda 25.
Thank you and good morning.
Australia can end HIV transmissions in four short years.
This previously unthinkable achievement is within reach, but only if new policy settings & investment which Agenda 2025 calls for are implemented. @_afao @napwha #HIV
You can find out more here https://t.co/axHNtij0k5
— PositiveWomenVic (@PosWomenVic) June 17, 2021