The federal Government have announced a significant investment in the Australian HIV response by way of a funding boost of $45.4 million over four years.
NAPWHA strongly endorses this decision in the 2019 Federal Budget which will further fund the progress of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and blood-borne viruses (BBV).
“NAPWHA welcomes this funding and congratulates the government on their demonstrated commitment to work with our communities to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV and other BBV and STI,” said Aaron Cogle, Executive Director of NAPWHA.
The announcement provides additional investment in the HIV sector, including a much-needed injection of $20 million for HIV health promotion, workforce development and services particularly within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“The Positive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN) welcome this announcement and hope that this money will be able to help reverse the recent trend of increasing rates of BBV and STI in our communities,” said Michelle Tobin, Convener of PATSIN.
“Our hope is that some of this money will be directed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peer-based services; that are best placed to understand the needs of our people.”
Further allocation of funding includes a previously announced $5 million over two years for national peak organisations working towards implementation of the government’s recently released National BBV and STI strategies. It also includes $10 million funding allocated over two years for a national HIV and STI awareness campaign.
“This investment will add support to our efforts to fund evidence-base programs that strive to improve the quality of life and outcomes for people with HIV and further support equitable access to healthcare and treatment,” continued Aaron Cogle.
In other budgetary announcements, NAPWHA also welcome the government’s increase of $7 billion towards the funding of aged care. This will be of relevance to continuity-of-care for many people with HIV who aim to maintain their independence as they age, or who will access aged care service.
NAPWHA will look forward to seeing more detail from the Health Budget on planned spending and initiatives; and engaging with the Australian Department of Health to ensure that implementation of this funding meets the on-the-ground needs of our communities.