Tuesday, 30 November 2021
World AIDS Day
[by video link] Tomorrow is World AIDS Day and I want to take this opportunity now to speak in support of all those living with HIV and to commemorate those who've been lost in the AIDS epidemic. HIV has taught Australia and the world many lessons that serve us particularly well now in the time of COVID. Science and research, access to health care and treatment, prevention without stigma, and listening and working closely with affected communities have been key to addressing the HIV pandemic in Australia, and so it is with COVID.
Here in Australia fewer than 10,000 people have died from AIDS and around 26,000 people continue to live with HIV today. So, our burden, compared to the rest of the world, has been comparatively light, and this is not luck. Just as with COVID, it has been our commitment to implementing evidence based policies which respond to real-world behaviour. We have so much work still to do, including increasing awareness in the community, especially among at-risk groups.
I want to send my congratulations to the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and all their members on their Agenda 2025 plan. This sets out a detailed, fully costed, evidence based approach to the elimination of HIV transmission in Australia by 2025. Like so many others in this movement, I am committed to the realisation of this goal and committed to continuing to confront and fight stigma against people living with HIV in all areas of life. I'm proud that Australia has committed to the UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS and that we are focused on efforts to make HIV history here in Australia and right around the world.