- Established HIV community-led efforts have been highly successful in achieving HIV prevention, testing and treatment results across a range of populations and localities, and have prevented a generalised epidemic;
- Those strengths notwithstanding, Australia faces a number of challenges:
- the dominant narrative in Australia regarding HIV is out of date. This directly affects our capacity to address HIV as it conceals the urgency with which governments need to make new prevention strategies and testing methods accessible, causes people at risk of HIV to discount the possibility of their risk and therefore inquire about the tools available to prevent HIV, contributes to stigma and discrimination, and contributes to misinformed responses to HIV by community and health professionals; and
- current efforts are not at sufficient scale to reach those at risk of acquiring HIV. This includes making new prevention strategies accessible, increasing testing frequency among key populations and supporting immediate linkage to care for people newly diagnosed with HIV and retention in care and treatment adherence among those already living with HIV.
- The majority of community-led HIV organisations are small in size with a small education team. In general, they are staffed by individuals who are specialists in working with one population or delivering one aspect of community-led work (such as delivering educational workshops) but may lack expertise in designing integrated programs, or in specific modalities (such as the effective use of online tools for behaviour change). As each organisation endeavours to meet the needs of local populations, there is a risk of duplication and inconsistency in messaging, rather than collaboration;
- Together, these factors will limit our capacity to reach our goal of ending HIV transmission in Australia.
- Develop a nationally-coordinated package of HIV prevention, testing and treatment resources for local implementation. This package should be informed by a range of data, including epidemiological data, social and behavioural research, and international best practice on addressing HIV in key populations and should include:
- Program development and planning tools
- Health promotion campaign materials
- Session plans for community education activities across the range of key populations; and
- Session plans for information/skill development among allied workforces;
- Conduct an ongoing program of awareness raising through a communications strategy which incorporates:
- Working with communications specialists to monitor current media coverage of HIV, and design strategic interventions to update the narrative across mainstream media, LGBTI press and new media; and
- Collaboration between community-led HIV organisations to provide a coherent and contemporary narrative of HIV in Australia.
This investment will deliver greater efficiency in community-led efforts, reduce any remaining duplication and reduce the potential for inconsistent messaging.
$10 million per annum across national community-led organisations