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Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 418. Updated Tuesday, 15 July 2014

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Strategies blooded to combat diseases

A coordinated national response to target HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections are contained in five new strategies.

Developed by the Department of Health in cooperation with State and Territory Health Authorities, the strategies tackle HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, STIs and a specific strategy targeting blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections in the Indigenous community.

They were launched by Federal Minister for Health, Peter Dutton and his Victorian counterpart, David Davis in Melbourne, which will host the international AIDS2014 conference later this month.

Mr Dutton said it was important to renew Australia's efforts through the five national strategies which had been endorsed by all State and Territory Health Ministers.

Health targets five infections

"We have been a world leader in teaming up with the medical profession and affected communities to fight these diseases," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Davis said the States looked forward to working with the Commonwealth to reduce the spread of blood-borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections.

"We are united in meeting common goals - working towards Australia being free of HIV and other blood-borne viruses and ensuring effective prevention, early detection and treatment," Mr Davis said.

"We have also established PRONTO! - a peer-based community-led HIV rapid-testing trial; convened the Department Advisory Committee for Blood-Borne Viruses; established the Victorian Hepatitis B and Syphilis Response working groups and expanded the hepatitis B vaccination program to include more at-risk populations."

Meanwhile, testing and treatment for HIV is to be easier and more accessible under changes being made by the Federal Government.

A restriction preventing the manufacture and sale of HIV home self-tests has been removed and dispensing arrangements for HIV therapies are to be changed.

"Companies can now apply to the Therapeutic Goods Administration for approval to supply their test kits and if they meet Australia's rigorous standards and are approved, will be able to be sold direct to consumers," Mr Dutton said.

Further information on the new strategies can be found at this PS News link.

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