WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018

Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – prevention and education Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – testing and diagnosis Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – disease management and clinical care
Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – workforce development Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – enabling environment Icon: Links to WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – research, evaluation and surveillance

In line with the Seventh National HIV Strategy 2014–2017 (external site), the goals of the WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 are:

  • to work towards achieving the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in Western Australia by 2020
  • to reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by HIV
  • to minimise the personal and social impact of HIV.

The WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 is based on a strong partnership approach and collective action between government, non-government, healthcare and research organisations.

Download the WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 (PDF 1MB).

Background

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a retrovirus transmitted via blood to blood contact, or bodily fluid to blood contact.

HIV infects cells within the immune system. Left untreated, HIV can progress into Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a life-threatening condition where the body’s immune system becomes severely compromised.

HIV is recognised as an infectious disease from a public health perspective. However, it is also regarded as a chronic condition which can be treated and managed.

In Australia, the HIV epidemic is generally concentrated among key populations, where transmission of the virus predominantly occurs through unprotected sexual contact, and to a lesser extent, through injecting drug use.

Nationally, the incidence and prevalence of HIV is higher in men compared to women. Around 70 per cent of new cases occur among men, particularly gay men and other men who have sex with men.

Until recently, the Australian HIV epidemic had been relatively stable. However, since 2011, the rate of new infections has been rising, signalling a resurgence of the epidemic. Similarly in WA, the annual number of new notifications has been rising. During 2014, there were 140 new HIV notifications, with 76 per cent being male notifications.

Strategic context

National

In 2014, the Australian Government’s Department of Health released the Seventh National HIV Strategy 2014–2017.

This national strategy sets clear targets for a course of action to reduce the incidence of HIV. These targets are informed by the 2011 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS (external PDF 208KB).

The Seventh National HIV Strategy for 2014–2017  builds upon the successes which have been achieved since 2010, transforming the public health response to HIV.

Considerable milestones and achievements include:

  • the recognition that antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a significant prevention approach, with potential to prevent onwards transmission of HIV
  • earlier ART initiation, irrespective of the presence of symptomatic disease, which has health benefits for the patient, and public health benefits in terms of prevention
  • the introduction of HIV rapid testing in community-based settings, which increases access to testing for priority populations
  • maintenance of virtual elimination of HIV amongst sex workers, people who inject drugs, and mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Western Australia

The WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 aligns with the national HIV strategy to address the needs of people living with, and affected by, HIV in WA.

The strategy also follows on from the previous HIV Model of Care Implementation Plan 2010–2014 (PDF 2.97MB), which aimed to direct the implementation of the key recommendations proposed in the HIV Model of Care (PDF 490KB). In line with previous plans, this strategy is based on a coordinated and collaborative approach with key partners.

Priority populations

Within the WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018, the priority populations include:

  • people living with HIV
  • gay men and other men who have sex with men
  • mobile populations
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • sex workers
  • people who inject drugs
  • people in custodial settings
  • Aboriginal people.

However, the needs of other population groups, such as young people, should also be acknowledged.

Monitoring and evaluation

Progress against the WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 will be collated in the WA HIV Strategy 2015–2018 – Monitoring and Evaluation Framework. This will be updated regularly.

Other sources of HIV data include the:

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