New Zealand government plans to spend $18 million Become the first country to eliminate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission within a decade.
In a draft action plan launched last week, Deputy Health Minister Ayesha Verrall proposed increasing prevention and testing, improving access to treatment and addressing stigma.
Excited to announce that we are in Aotearoa Asia’s ambition to eliminate HIV transmission and ensure that all people living with HIV enjoy long lives without discrimination.
We can do it! https://t.co/vpNpqM9dNj
— Ayesha Verrall (@drayeshaverrall) July 30, 2022
These are ambitious goals, but the plan does not take into account the changing patterns of the HIV epidemic. It does not reflect growing evidence that Māori, especially Māori women, have disproportionately high rates of HIV infection and are more likely to be diagnosed later.
If Māori women are not identified as a group at increased risk of HIV infection and development of AIDS due to late diagnosis , the program’s effectiveness in stopping the spread of HIV infection will be severely limited. This apparent oversight could easily undermine Secretary Verrall’s goals and instead exacerbate current HIV disparities.
Since the establishment of the National HIV Surveillance System in Aotearoa in 1985, 5,430 people have been diagnosed with the infection in New Zealand 757 people died of AIDS due to the virus. The number of people diagnosed with HIV has fallen recently (from 195 in 2016 to 122 in 2021), but inequalities in health outcomes are deepening.
With the advent of antiretroviral therapy (ART) more than two decades ago, the pattern of the global HIV pandemic occurred huge changes. With timely access to antiretroviral therapy, people living with HIV can expect to enjoy the same health outcomes as everyone else.
Antiretroviral therapy has become the key to preventing HIV transmission. But to be effective, ART must be started as soon as a person has contracted the virus. If New Zealand is to eliminate HIV by 2032, antiretroviral therapy must be readily accessible to everyone, and we must remove barriers created by stigma, discrimination and racism.
HIV prevention pills: “Stigma is something that still exists’ https://t.co/haAsvDW6MP — RNZ News (@rnz_news) June 19, 2022
HIV inequalities are increasing
The 24th International AIDS Conference, recently held in Montreal On, a consistent message is that the HIV pandemic is far from over, and HIV inequities have increased.
The world will not soon be free of HIV if governments and policy makers fail to recognize the detrimental impact of HIV on vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women.
At the meeting, I presented five steps to develop an action plan to prevent HIV transmission among Aboriginal people. This sets a realistic and achievable setting for Māori living with HIV Goals provide a highly relevant framework.
Recognize the effects of colonization and historical trauma Make sure to get the culture
Identification and resource conservation factors such as family and family support Ensuring that health services are free from stigma and discrimination Understanding and addressing the impact of social determinants on health and well-being.
UNAIDS leads global efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. It recently set a 95-95- Goal of 95: 95% of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 95% of people who are HIV positive are on treatment; 95% are on viral load suppression therapy.
New Zealand cannot ignore the fact that we are part of the international community. If the international community fails to Eliminating HIV within the next eight years will seriously hinder our country’s efforts.
Healthcare Reform Provides Opportunity to Promote Equity
In 1994, during the HIV pandemic More than a decade after the outbreak, Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand’s Ministry of Maori Development, prepared the first report on the possible impact of HIV on humans. Maori.
It warns that Māori are vulnerable to HIV and the government needs to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus among Māori. As happened with COVID-19, the government paid little heed to these warnings.
As we enter the fifth decade of the HIV pandemic, Māori continue to be adversely affected by HIV, Higher incidence of later diagnosis increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.
Despite the high local rate of HIV infection among Māori women, it was concealed in the draft action plan.
Action plans play an important role in the management and control of various diseases. This plan is no exception. But to be effective, plans need to be aligned with the needs of the community and based on a mutually respectful consultation process with them.
New Zealand’s current healthcare reform aims to bring long overdue improved equity to Māori. But this is not reflected in this draft action plan, which is likely to undermine efforts to address HIV disparities.
Reform requires health services and professionals to place Te Tiriti o Waitangi and equity at the forefront of health policy and services. The action plan in its current form fails to take advantage of the opportunities of the new health sector.
If New Zealand is to stop the spread of HIV among Māori, the HIV Elimination Action Plan must develop an approach to address inequalities Strategy. An overwhelming message from the AIDS conference was that affected communities, especially people living with HIV, must be front and center in preventing the spread of the virus.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original text.
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