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28 Jun 2017

Victoria’s new HIV strategy on course to exceed Fast-Track Cities’ 90-90-90 targets

Strategy includes $1.2 million funding to support researchers working towards breakthrough in HIV cure and vaccine

Victoria’s HIV community and researchers have welcomed the launch today of the Andrews Government’s HIV strategy for 2017-2020 and a $1.2 million funding boost for HIV cure and vaccine research. The new strategy brings the state closer to achieving the Fast-Track Cities 90-90-90 global targets for diagnosis, treatment and viral suppression, while significant new funding demonstrates clear commitment to finding a cure and vaccine for HIV.

The Fast-Track Cities Initiative (FTCI), launched in 2014 in Paris on World Aids Day, asked cities to commit to the following targets for 2020:

  • 90 per cent of people living with HIV know their HIV status
  • 90 per cent who know their status are on antiretroviral therapy
  • 90 per cent of people on antiretroviral therapy achieve viral suppression
  • Zero stigma and discrimination

After signing-up in 2015 to join more than 27 international FTCI cities, and now boosted by a new HIV strategy, Victoria is on course to exceed FTCI’s 90-90-90 targets ahead of the 2020 deadline, helped by the strategy’s emphasis on eliminating stigma and discrimination and bold new targets of 95-95-95. 

The strategy, launched by Minister for Health Jill Hennessy at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, comes amid rapid advances in prevention, treatment and research.

Fast-Track Cities Taskforce for Victoria co-chair, Brent Allan, the CEO of Living Positive Victoria, commended the Andrews Government for its renewed emphasis on responding to a Victorian epidemic, and the strategy’s focus on removing stigma and discrimination.

“HIV stigma and discrimination continue to be a barrier for HIV prevention, treatment and support. We are pleased to see that the Victorian strategy has identified that tackling HIV stigma and discrimination is a key target and indicator for success,” he said.

 “The inclusion of people living with HIV is central and vital to the Victorian strategy. We anticipate the development of an action plan that complements the strategy and sets clear targets and responsibilities for all those involved in the HIV response,” Mr Allan said.

Director of the Doherty Institute and Fast-Track Cities Taskforce Victoria co-chair, Professor Sharon Lewin – who is an infectious diseases physician and one of the world’s top HIV researchers – said: In three decades, HIV has gone from being a universal death sentence to a manageable chronic disease, but now we need to ensure that these advances are available to every Victorian and to work towards the virtual elimination of new HIV infections.

“Current treatments enable people to enjoy a normal life expectancy.

“The outstanding success story of HIV is due to the massive investment in research, a vocal and committed global community, and in Australia, bipartisan support to minimise transmission and maximise access to prevention, testing and treatment. This new strategy and accompanying funding boost for HIV vaccine and cure research further demonstrates and reinforces that commitment.

“Our national and state strategies are a crucial part of this effort, bringing researchers, clinicians and the community together to work towards a bold and ambitious goal to see every Victorian who is diagnosed with HIV on effective treatment, and to eliminate stigma and discrimination.”

Professor Lewin said Australia was one of the few countries in the world demonstrating the potential to see the virtual elimination of HIV.