ACON releases new position statements ahead of AIDS 2014
With the AIDS 2014 conference just around the corner, ACON has released a slew of new policy papers relating to the key issues facing people living with HIV alongside new prevention strategies aimed at eliminating HIV infections by 2020.
Six new policy papers have been developed in conjunction with key partners, stakeholders and members of the community, outlining ACON's plan of attack.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said it’s important that Australia’s policy, regulatory and legislative frameworks adapt to the evolving nature of the epidemic.
"These policies are designed to ensure our response is as effective as possible," said Parkhill.
ACON’s new position papers address several matters in relation to ending HIV. According to the papers, HIV transmission in NSW is heavily reliant on increasing the proportion of gay men testing, and increasing the frequency of testing.
New testing options, including home-based screening, rapid point of care screening in community settings, and dried-blood spot HIV screening provide faster result times but regulatory barriers are preventing many services from being readily available.
ACON calls on the Australian Government to take a proactive role in addressing these issues by approving safe, high quality, consumer-friendly testing devices.
Parkhill said the recently released Seventh National HIV Strategy 2014-2017 addressed many of the issues in ACON’s new position statements, and he commended the government for moving forward on issues that affect people living with HIV but suggested there were areas where progress still needed to be made if Australia to have continued success in its response to HIV.
“This includes fast-tracking approval and availability of new HIV testing technologies, establishing new service models for HIV testing, and making PrEP widely available to at risk populations."
ACON suggested access to self-testing for gay men would provide another step forward in the fight to end HIV, by removing many of the structural barriers to testing.
Research shows that Australian gay men have expressed a strong preference for home and self testing and that more men would test, and test more regularly, if it were available. ACON believes this has the potential to reduce the number of undiagnosed people with HIV.
The six position papers cover the following topics:
• HIV Testing Options
• HIV Self Testing
• What Is Safe Sex?
• Treating Early
• Undetectable Viral Load
• Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
Read the full position statements: www.acon.org.au/policystatements