On Wednesday 26th July 2023, during the closing ceremony of IAS 2023, the 12th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science, held in Brisbane, Queensland Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman announced the removal of co-payments for HIV antiretroviral therapy for people with HIV, regardless of their Medicare eligibility.
This is incredible news for those living with HIV in Queensland, especially for those where cost of medication may be a barrier to maintaining their treatment, and ensuring their health and wellbeing. The removal of co-payments is slated to take effect from October 2023.
“As Queensland’s Health Minister, I want to see us end HIV transmission by 2030 and have zero HIV stigma and discrimination.
“Of the estimated 5,919 people living with HIV in Queensland, 91 per cent know their HIV status.
“Our more vulnerable groups in society, whether by age, gender or socio-economic status are the ones who have their health service access most compromised by co-payments.
“By removing cost barriers, we can increase treatment adherence and reduce HIV transmission risk within the community.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to providing everyone with equitable access to safe and affordable healthcare.”The Honourable Shannon Fentiman, Queensland Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services
In December last year, Queensland joined the Fast Track Cities network, with a commitment to the virtual elimination of HIV by 2030. The announcement yesterday made by the Queensland Government, affirms their commitment to Fast Track Cities ideals, and should be celebrated.
“Today’s generous announcement means that soon all people living with HIV in Queensland, including the most vulnerable, will be able to achieve an undetectable viral load, making it impossible for them to transmit HIV to others.
“Not just a fantastic outcome for public health but a major step forward in reducing the stigma felt by all people living with HIV across Queensland.”Mark Counter, Queensland Positive People Board President
We hope all States and Territories in Australia join Queensland in providing free and equitable access to HIV medications to all people living with HIV, regardless of Medicare status.