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The Government of Australia and UNAIDS have today signed a new multi-million-dollar partnership to strengthen the fight against both non-communicable and communicable diseases, including HIV, to ensure better health outcomes for people in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. The signing took place at UNAIDS during the 77th World Health Assembly.

The AU$12 million funding agreement will support governments and local communities in the region to improve HIV prevention, testing and treatment while reducing stigma and discrimination. The funds will be dedicated to advancing the HIV response in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cambodia over the next four years.

“This is an important investment for the region, and a valuable partnership for UNAIDS. It will deliver multiple benefits, including tackling rising HIV infections in some countries,” said Christine Stegling, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director. “This much-needed financial support by the Australian government will go a long way in the fight to end AIDS as a public health threat in the Pacific and Southeast Asia by 2030. More than that, it’s a demonstration of Australia’s commitment to protect people’s health and human rights beyond its own borders.”

Efforts to prevent new HIV infections in the Pacific and Southeast Asia need to be scaled up urgently as epidemics are rising in a number of countries including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Philippines. Stigma and discrimination are contributing to the rise, obstructing access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services, particularly for men who have sex with men.

The financial injection, for both HIV prevention and treatment, adds to the existing AU$25 million multi-year (2022-2027) partnership between UNAIDS and the Australian Government in the Asia Pacific region, representing an expansion of the longstanding programming partnership. It’s also part of Australia’s Partnerships for a Healthy Region – an Australian Government initiative that works with governments and civil society organisations in the Pacific and Southeast Asia to build resilient, equitable and inclusive health systems that can respond to shared health challenges.

“Australia’s domestic response to HIV has always recognised that the people closest to the issue are also best placed to lead on the solutions. As policy makers and funders we must listen, support, and build genuine partnerships with affected communities and civil society organisations,” said Dr. Lucas de Toca, Australia’s Ambassador for Global Health. “Australia is proud these principles of listening and supporting are central to our new partnership with UNAIDS and Health Equity Matters. This new partnership will support locally led solutions to the HIV epidemic in our region – enabling affected communities to lead the response.”

Domestically, Australia remains committed to ending its AIDS pandemic by 2030 and recently announced a AU$43.9 million investment to boost the fight against HIV. Australia is well on the way to reaching the 95-95-95 targets by 2025.

“This commitment is a practical expression of solidarity and co-operation between the people of Australia and our near neighbours in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Cambodia,” said Dash Heath-Paynter, Chief Executive Officer of Health Equity Matters. “By investing in the HIV response in our region we plant the seeds for a healthier, more prosperous future, with a lighter burden of stigma and discrimination. We recognise the leadership exercised by both the Australian Government and UNAIDS in making this commitment."

Robert Shivambu, UNAIDS Geneva
Populations & Programmes
HIV prevention, HIV testing, antiretroviral treatment, HIV financing