As the national organisation presenting people who inject drugs AIVL welcomes the news that the Australian Government has decided to lift the current regulatory barriers preventing people from commencing HIV treatment early. Until now in Australia, people with HIV who have no clinical symptoms have been prevented from commencing HIV treatment until their CD4 count falls below 500. With the changes announced today people will be able to access HIV antiretroviral treatment medications under the government subsidised s100 program when they choose to do so.
It is estimated that only 50 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV in Australia are currently on treatment and while we have been very successful in Australia in keeping the rate of HIV infection among people who inject drugs extremely low, we also know that people with HIV who also inject drugs often experience additional barriers to accessing HIV treatment. Any efforts to remove artificial barriers, particularly of a regulatory kind to HIV treatment for people who inject drugs is a necessary and positive step forward.
For further information on this important development please see the media statement from the National Association of People with HIV Australia.