Australian Greens health spokesperson, Senator Richard Di Natale, said today that we need to do more to counteract the 50 per cent increase in HIV diagnoses in Australia over the last decade.
“The increase in the spread of HIV in Australia is very alarming, and it demands a comprehensive suite of public policy responses,” said Dr Di Natale, a public health specialist who has worked in HIV prevention internationally.
“At present there are large numbers of people who are unaware that they have HIV infection so we need to increase the number of people tested. Fast-tracking approval of rapid HIV testing in Australia will help us test more people.
“We also need to do much more to prevent the spread of HIV. We can do that by providing for faster access to antiretroviral medication for people who are exposed to infection and by approving HIV medication for people earlier on in the course of their illness because it reduces the risk of transmission.
‘The increase in HIV transmission along with other STIs in Australia, including Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, is also proof that we need a much bigger national campaign to encourage the use of condoms in the general community.
“There also needs to be a greater emphasis on harm reduction strategies such as needle exchange programs, safe injecting rooms and better access to drug substitution programs because they are proven HIV prevention measures.”
Media contact: Andrew Blyberg 0457 901 600