Aussie opposition announces plan to "make HIV history"

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-11 13:20:59|Editor: Yang Yi
Video PlayerClose

CANBERRA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has unveiled its plan to "make HIV history".

Announced by health spokesperson Catherine King on Monday, the plan would see the ALP spend 39.8 million U.S. dollars on eliminating the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) if victorious at the 2018 federal election.

The plan includes 7.5 million U.S. dollars for organizations to target populations most at-risk of contracting HIV and 2.7 million U.S. dollars for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) trials to be expanded.

PrEP involves HIV-negative people taking a daily dose of antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infection. It has been found to be 99.9 percent effective at preventing HIV infection.

The ALP said the additional funding would make PrEP available to an extra 17,500 people.

A course of the drug can currently cost up to 900 U.S. dollars but the funding injection would reduce that to as little as 4.7 U.S. dollars.

"PrEP is only available to those who can afford the drug themselves or can access it through state and territory trials," King said in a statement on Monday.

"We have the knowledge to make HIV history -- now we need the resources."

There are approximately 1,000 diagnosed cases of HIV in Australia every year, a figure that King said could realistically be reduced to zero.

The ALP took advice from a blueprint developed by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO), which said the plan would eventually result in 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in savings to the federal budget through a decreased burden on the universal health care system.

The AFAO would benefit from an extra 7.5 million U.S. dollars in funding under the plan while 2.2 million U.S. dollars would be committed to treating "hidden" cases of HIV among Aboriginal people and non-English speaking Australians.