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Created date

29/06/2016

NT Election

 

In 2016, Northern Territorians will make a decision to retain the current government or elect a new one. The Northern Territory AIDS and Hepatitis Council (NTAHC) has produced this document to provide the public with actions that the next Northern Territory government should consider to address Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the NT.

It is thirty years since Australia’s first HIV diagnosis and the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.
In the early days of the HIV epidemic, there were high levels of fear, limited knowledge about transmission and no effective treatments to prevent the progression of the illness in people living with HIV (PLHIV).

In response, targeted health promotion campaigns and community-based care and support services that addressed the needs of the dying and seriously ill were developed.

Today’s situation is much different. Advancements in treatment have made it possible for people to live long lives. Treatment can reduce the likelihood of onward transmission and is also capable of being administered to negative people as a highly effective prevention method.

Thirty years on from the discovery of the hepatitis C virus we are now seeing the availability of interferon free treatments that have reduced treatment times to 12 weeks and offer a 98% cure rate. It is advances such as this that makes the eradication of hepatitis C within five to ten years a
reality.

In spite of these developments, we still see new HIV notifications, a large number of people waiting to access hepatitis treatment and high rates of hepatitis B and STIs in the NT. Northern Territory public policy and law do not effectively address the issues. To reduce the impact we believe immediate action in several key areas is required.

These areas include:
• Implementing new testing infrastructure, with a coordinated health promotion campaign that reinforces the importance of regular BBV and STI testing;
• Removing financial barriers to HIV treatment through community dispensing to ensure PLHIV have care options;
• Implementing social media campaigns that enable health promotion messages to reach communities and individuals at high risk;
and
• Expanding community and peer based support and health promotion programs for priority populations which support test ing and treatment awareness and build resilience to combat stigma and discrimination.
 

Download the NT Election booklet

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