Australian states and territories announce AIDS 2014 legacy
Health Ministers from every Australian state and territory have signed a pledge committing to end HIV transmissions by the year 2020.
The AIDS 2014 Legacy Statement commits each of the states and territories to take all necessary action to remove barriers to testing, treatment, prevention, care and support, across legal, regulatory, policy, social, political and economic domains.
New South Wales Health Minister Jillian Skinner said she was thrilled other states were taking on a strategy she had implemented in 2012.
"It commits us to a rejuvenated response by ensuing that all jurisdictions reflect scientific advancements with the vision of ending HIV and AIDS," she said.
"What gives us confidence is the capacity of our Governments to work together, the capacity to set some clear objectives," said Victorian Health Minister, David Davis.
Local co-chair of AIDS 2014, Professor Sharon Lewin, congratulated the Ministers for their "incredible leadership".
"Having the conference in Melbourne is obviously very exciting for all of us, but behind all that, most importantly is the ongoing legacy.
"We will be the first country to have such ambitious targets being signed up to from every aspect of the response. I think we should be very proud of that," said Lewin.
"I think that Australia is in a unique position because HIV occurs in a distinct community and if we use research to really understand the drivers for testing and staying on treatment, we can refine our strategies.
"We have almost eliminated transmission in people who inject drugs and sex workers, and if any country can do it, we're well placed to do it"
Professor Lewin remarked the targets were not out of reach, because of the recent advances in science.
"Testing is much easier, the awareness of treatment as prevention. There's no doubt that there's a renewed commitment given that we think it's possible"
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