THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON CATHERINE KING MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH
MEMBER FOR BALLARAT
SENATOR LISA SINGH
SENATOR FOR TASMANIA
CO-CHAIR OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LIAISON GROUP FOR HIV/AIDS, BLOOD BORNE VIRUSES AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED
WORLD AIDS DAY 2014
MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014
World AIDS Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of HIV prevention and AIDS. The message of ‘getting to zero’ is tremendously important: zero new HIV infections; zero discrimination; zero AIDS related deaths.
Sadly, the battle to eradicate one of the most terrible epidemics of recent times is far from over, with an estimated 35 million people globally living with HIV.
Alarmingly, there are signs that Australia, which for so long has been a world leader with our education and information campaigns is losing ground, with increases in infections in recent years.
Australia has an outstanding record in tackling the AIDS epidemic. The initial response to HIV AIDS in the 1980s under the Hawke Government’s Health Minister Dr Neal Blewett has contributed to Australia today having an HIV infection rate around a quarter that of the USA.
But the recent upsurge in notifications is a reminder that task is far from complete, and it’s vital that we maintain the effort in the entirely achievable goal of eliminating new HIV infections and deaths from AIDS.
Prevention activities such as needle and syringe programs have helped Australia achieve the lowest rates of HIV among injecting drug users in the world. But we need to do more.
In 2015 we must redouble our efforts to educate all Australians about the risk of HIV AIDS, and work together to eradicate this terrible disease, while supporting those who live with HIV.
And we need to maintain our support efforts to fight AIDS in developing countries, including through the excellent work of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
World AIDS Day is a chance to reinforce the message about persisting with those efforts, in Australia and globally, until we ‘get to zero’.