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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21849

Mrs Irwin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 11 August 2003:

(1) Has the Minister recently received a report dealing with Australia's HIV/AIDS strategy; if so, when.

(2) Does the report call for a major revitalisation of Australia's HIV/AIDS strategy.

(3) What concerns does the report raise to lead to a call for a major revitalisation of the strategy.

(4) Does the report examine the success or failure of current strategies.

(5) Does the report express concern that the Government's “Tough on Drugs Policy” may lead to an increase in HIV/AIDS cases.

Mr Abbott (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. The former Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, received a set of four reports of the 2002 Reviews of the National HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Strategies and Strategic Research on 20 December 2002 (`the reports').

(2) Yes.

(3) The issues raised in the reports are multifaceted, and the former Minister for Health and Ageing, Senator Kay Patterson, consulted with our ministerial colleagues on preparation of the Australian Government response to the review to ensure Australia's response to HIV/AIDS continues to be effective and appropriate. Notable challenges identified by the HIV/AIDS Strategy Review Panel for a fifth national HIV/AIDS strategy include:

- the changing nature of HIV/AIDS in Australia and in the Asia/Pacific region, including increases in HIV diagnoses in some states;

- increasing evidence of unsafe sex practices among men who have sex with men;

- rising notifications of sexually transmissible infections;

- the need for improved surveillance systems for HIV and sexually transmissible infections;

- the need for more effective ministerial advisory arrangements; and

- maintenance of a whole-of-government approach to HIV/AIDS and associated issues.

(4) Yes.

(5) The report on the review of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy did not discuss the Government's “Tough on Drugs Policy”.