The Australian Labor party have announced a $53 million commitment to provide inexpensive access to preventative HIV medicine if they win the next election.
The plan announced by opposition health spokeswoman Catherine King intends to provide funding to community organisations that are on the frontline of HIV prevention, including an expansion of the PrEP trial.
The financial investment is based on a blueprint developed by the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, the intention is to deliver $2 billion worth of savings to the federal budget through lower health costs.
PrEP is currently under Federal review for inclusion on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which would see the government subsidise the $1200 price of the drug, the listing has been repeatedly delayed because of cost concerns.
The antiretroviral drug, if made readily available, could reduce the number of new HIV infections by up to 99 per cent according to HIV advocates.
“Australians are fortunate enough to have a world-class healthcare system which has been built through decades of work by Labor governments.” King explained to the media.
“But the Turnbull Government has been neglecting the HIV epidemic and cutting funding, which has undermined the community-led response to HIV in Australia.
“The Hawke Labor Government led the world with its response to the HIV epidemic in the 1980s. That response saved thousands of lives, but today there are still 1,000 new HIV infections each year. Now we need to renew the effort to make HIV History.”
The push comes less than a week after the Labor government voted against parliamentary amendments to the same-sex marriage bill.