ACT groups design new HIV strategy
As new HIV infections continue to climb in the territory, the ACT government has joined with advocacy groups to craft a new framework to bring the disease under control across Canberra.
With the current ACT HIV strategy due to expire in 2015, the government says it will adopt the new national strategy and add Canberra-specific modifications, rather than designing an entirely new one from scratch.
Once finished it will be used to plan how the ACT deals with HIV, sexually transmitted infections and other blood-borne viruses until 2017.
AIDS Action Council ACT director Philippa Moss said the working group's primary challenge would be reducing the number of new infections in the ACT.
"My greatest hope is that the community focus is strong and it doesn't become a purely clinical, medical model," she said.
"We [need to] remember we're talking about communities and we need to focus on health promotion within those communities."
"I think the last few years have been really significant and promising for changes in HIV, with a new understanding and a changing landscape ... it's time to consolidate the gains that have been made over the past few years," she said.
An ACT Health spokeswoman said the government was committed to reducing both the number of infections and both the associated stigma and discrimination.
"The ACT response will adopt the principles and priority population groups outlined in the national strategies and will outline local priorities and actions under each individual strategy," she said.
"[It] will identify the challenges and opportunities in relation to the HIV, STI and blood-borne viruses health needs of the local community and establish priorities for implementation."
The spokeswoman said written submissions on the new HIV strategy could be provided until February 24 at the timetotalk.act.gov.au website.
Community consultation forum takes place on the same day from 8.30am at the ANU Commons Function Centre.
Source: Ben Westcott at the canberratimes.com.au