Brisbane joins network of 350+ cities worldwide aiming to end HIV epidemics by 2030

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Today not only marks 30 years since World AIDS Day was recognised and celebrated in Queensland but also a new milestone in the education and potential elimination of HIV.

The Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath and Brisbane’s Deputy Mayor Krista Adams have signed on to the Fast-Track Cities Paris Declaration to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

Brisbane joins a network of more than 350 cities worldwide committed to ending HIV epidemics by 2030.

Brisbane is the 14th Fast-Track City in the Asia-Pacific region and the fourth city in Australia, joining Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth.

Jurisdictions joining the Fast-Track Cities network aim to achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 HIV targets to ensure that 95 per cent of people living with HIV (PLHIV) will know their status, that 95 per cent of all PLHIV will receive sustained antiretroviral treatment and that 95 per cent of all PLHIV on antiretroviral treatment maintain viral suppression.

The Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said joining Fast Track Cities is a pivotal moment for Queensland.

“It shows our commitment to fast-track closing gaps in HIV prevention, testing and treatment, as well as striving to eliminate stigma.”

“It is estimated that there were 5,850 people living with HIV in Queensland in 2021. In 2021, 124 new diagnoses of HIV occurred in Queensland, lower than the previous five-year average of 165 new diagnoses.”

“Whilst testing rates for many blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a decline in new HIV notifications in Queensland since the peak of 246 new notifications in 2014.”

The Minister said this decline in notifications reflected a range of factors including ongoing education programs developed for and by at-risk communities and the widespread availability of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), an anti-retroviral medication to reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to others through sex, needle sharing, or during pregnancy and birth.

Brisbane Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said the 12th International AIDS Society Conference in July 2023 won’t just be significant for the local economy, it will leave a lasting scientific, social and cultural legacy for the city.

“I am pleased Brisbane is joining the Fast-Track Cities initiative and I’d like to congratulate all those who have been involved,” she said.

“Our Council is committed to ensuring Brisbane is an equitable, inclusive, responsive, resilient and sustainable city and we support the zero target for stigma and discrimination.”

Professor Charles Gilks, the UQ Professorial Chair in HIV/STI, added, “I am delighted that Brisbane, and the State of Queensland, continues their commitment to responding to HIV, investing in programs in HIV prevention and care through strong partnership with government, scientists, clinicians and the community.”

“This will support us to achieve our shared goal of virtual elimination of the HIV epidemic by 2030.”

President of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, Dr Jose Zuniga, is looking forward to working with local Queensland stakeholders.

We have the tools at our disposal, but need community engagement, political will, and public health leadership to realise an end to urban HIV epidemics,” he said.

CEO of Queensland Positive People (QPP), Melissa Warner said, “we warmly welcome and are honoured to be a partner of this significant occasion. ”

QPP is funded by Queensland Health to provide peer support services to PLHIV and free HIV point-of-care tests through its RAPID walk-in clinic in Fortitude Valley.

Rebecca Reynolds, CEO of the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health (QC), said, “As an organisation that puts our LGBTI communities at the centre of all we do, this agreement aligns with our organisational values as a very special example of Think Global. Act Local.”

“Our communities become stronger, more visible and boldly positive in all ways”.

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