Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 07, 2023


World AIDS Day

In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS ().1 December 2022).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): The Minister for Health and Wellbeing has advised:

1. The South Australian public health response to HIV is guided by the National HIV Strategy, a framework for a coordinated national approach to this important public health issue building on decades of successful partnerships between government, community, clinicians and researchers.

The South Australian government remains firmly committed to achieving the goals and targets of the National HIV Strategy, including the elimination of HIV transmission in South Australia by 2030. Thanks to scientific advances and the tireless efforts of health workers and community organisations, this goal is now not only realistic but within reach.

In recent years, the rollout of HIV preventive medications (PrEP) has contributed significantly to reducing transmission. It is estimated that around 1,500 South Australians were prescribed HIV PrEP during 2022. Uptake continues to increase on the back of concerted efforts to expand our network of PrEP prescribing clinicians, and to educate the community on the importance of this and other HIV prevention strategies.

Secondly, reducing time to diagnosis and treatment initiation is also key to Australia's HIV elimination efforts. To this end, there has been continued innovation in diverse and accessible testing models. In South Australia, members of the community may access rapid and self-testing options, in addition to visiting their GP or sexual health clinic.

Finally, being on treatment enables people living with HIV to reduce their viral load to an undetectable level. This concept, known as 'U=U', not only enables people living with HIV to enjoy a long, healthy life, it also means they cannot transmit their infection to their sexual partners. Thanks to community mobilisation as well as investment in patient-centred models of care and support services, the majority of South Australians living with HIV are on treatment and 'undetectable'.

2. The Central Adelaide Local Health Network is currently considering new locations for the practice.

An O'Brien Street practice relocation planning group has been established to oversee the move to a new location. This group includes O'Brien Street patient representatives and the practice's senior medical practitioner, as well as representatives from other government and non-government service providers.