New Qld ‘HIV Foundation’ announced
A new state-based foundation to combat HIV/AIDS will be launched in Queensland on December 1.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has confirmed the new HIV Foundation Queensland will be created on World AIDS Day, December 1, 2013.
Springborg said the new body would help ensure the state became the nation’s leader in the fight to 'END HIV'.
The announcement comes on the back of new figures confirming for the year to date as at October, the number of new HIV diagnoses in Queensland decreased by 8 per cent compared to the same periods in 2011 and 2012.
Springborg said he had written to members of the current Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) on HIV/AIDS, appointed last year and invited them to become members of the new foundation.
Head of the MAC, Dr Darren Russell, will be chair of the new foundation.
“The Ministerial Advisory Committee has done an exceptional job by spearheading the END HIV campaign and it is now fitting to give it a clearer identity and greater flexibility to drive the HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention agenda,” Springborg said.
Springborg said the foundation’s role would be to provide advice to the government on HIV/AIDS strategy and to facilitate and promote research.
“To achieve this, the foundation will continue to oversee the same budget allocation that currently sits with the Ministerial Advisory Committee, but core decisions relating to expenditure and contracts will still require Ministerial oversight.
“The foundation will be governed by a board, comprised of the current members of the Ministerial Advisory Committee, who have proven they have the necessary skills mix to deliver the nature of work involved with HIV prevention, awareness and treatment.
“The foundation will also be better positioned to raise funds to support the provision of these activities to END HIV in Queensland.”
Executive director of Healthy Communities John Mikelsons welcomed the new foundation.
“The announcement of the new HIV Foundation here in Queensland is great news for the LGBTI Community, particularly gay men, and a natural progression for the Ministerial Advisory Committee,” Mikelsons said.
“Getting quality policy advice from clinicians and other players to policymakers is critical in the fight against HIV.
“The launch of this foundation will be enormously helpful in driving the research and policy agenda and ensuring that this critical issue gets the prominence it deserves.”
However, Mikelsons warned against reading too much into one-year changes in HIV notifications.
“The trend is up, and has been for a decade, as the Minister rightly pointed out,” he said.
“While a reduction is always welcome, we have seen reductions in years gone past, only to see notifications in the next year rise to levels worse than ever.”
IMAGE: Dr Darren Russell will be chair of the new HIV Foundation Queensland. Photo: A. Shaw
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