In 2011, Australia signed the United Nations 2011 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS that sets 'bold new targets' for HIV/AIDS to 2015. Signatory countries agreed on the following 'strong, time-bound' targets by 2015:
▪ Advance efforts towards reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50%
▪ Reducing HIV infection among people who inject drugs by 50%
▪ Push towards eliminating new HIV infections among children
▪ Increase the number of people on life-saving treatments to 15 million globally
▪ Reduce tuberculosis relation deaths in people living with HIV by half
The UN Declaration highlights action areas for improving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Public access to sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for women and children, are a cornerstone of 'working towards a world without AIDS'.
HIV in Australia
It's a given that Australia is better placed than many countries to meet these targets. And there is no better time to take action. Australia's HIV rates increased by 8% in 2011 and campaigners are saying that Australia have 'dropped the ball' on HIV/AIDS research and funding in recent times.
In 2013, 1,236 people were diagnosed with HIV, similar to levels in 2012. For more information and a snapshot of HIV in Australia, the AFAO website features a short summary HIV in Australia Statistics Update 2013.
Despite some progress being made over the last 18 months, barriers to tackling rising infection rates remain. These include a lack of access to rapid HIV tests licensed for use in Australia, prohibitive treatment costs and unhelpful restrictions on people with HIV and their medical teams deciding when to start treatment.
The Melbourne Declaration
To strengthen the United Nations goals and reduce HIV infection rates in Australia, the Melbourne Declaration was launched in October 2012.
Action areas in the Melbourne Declaration include:
▪ Making rapid testing widely available in clinical and community settings
▪ Enhancing access to and uptake of antiretroviral treatment for HIV
▪ Making HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis available to people who at high risk of HIV infection
▪ Fast tracking treatment licensure and funding
▪ Mobilising and informing people with HIV, and in populations at high risk of HIV, about advances in treatment and prevention
▪ Support ongoing, high quality HIV research.
With the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne comes renewed calls for action, leadership and commitment to get Australia back on track, and to help meet UN targets by 2015.
Show your Support. Sign the Melbourne Declaration today!
You can follow the proceedings of the International AIDS Conference 2014 from the 20-25th July 2014 on Twitter using the hashtag #AIDS2014
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