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Priority actions for Addressing HIV among mobile and migrant communities

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HIV diagnoses in Australia have been increasing among people travelling to and from high HIV prevalence countries. The Seventh National HIV Strategy (2014- 2017) states people and their partners who travel to or from high HIV prevalence countries, as well as travellers and mobile workers as priority populations in Australia.

In 2014, the HIV and Mobility: Road Map for Action, was the first attempt to capture what we know about HIV and mobility. It proposed 71 strategies across a range of stakeholders to operationalise the recommendations from the Seventh National HIV Strategy (2014-2017). A Community of Practice for Action on HIV and Mobility (CoPAHM) was born in 2015 to keep HIV and mobility on the national agenda and to monitor momentum. While some progress has been made, some key strategies are yet to be met.

The key goal in the current National HIV Strategy is to virtually end HIV transmissions by 2020, ensuring no one is left behind. Despite many successes, there remains challenges we need to resolve to see this achieved. While other key documents outline approaches to addressing HIV more broadly, there is a need for strategies that specifically addresses migrants and travellers. These sub-groups have different contexts, and thus, require approaches that are considerate of their diversity.

Where are we heading to?

A key goal in contemporary Australian policies was to ‘virtually end’ HIV transmissions, ensuring ‘no one is left behind’. Despite many successes, there remain challenges we need to resolve to see this achieved. While other key documents outline approaches to addressing HIV more broadly, there is a need for strategies that specifically address culturally and linguistically diverse people from high HIV prevalence countries, people who travel to high prevalence countries, and their partners. These subgroups have different needs, and thus, require approaches that are considerate of their diversity. 

Proposed strategies

Here we present six priority actions to address HIV and mobility in Australia, to further operationalise the Australian response to HIV and mobility and future iterations of national and jurisdictional policies relating to HIV.

Local solutions: Relevant jurisdictions to plan and implement state-specific responses to HIV in migrant and mobile populations
• Health literacy: Increase health literacy and know how to access combination prevention strategies available
Test: Understand and reduce barriers to HIV testing and make new testing technologies widely available
• Treatment and prevention medication: Advocate for the inception of a policy mechanism to provide access to HIV treatment and PrEP for temporary visa holders who are ineligible for Medicare
• Inform: Harmonise surveillance data reporting for both migrant and mobile populations, including sexual behaviour, testing rates, notifications, treatment initiation and PrEP
• Evaluate: Develop core indicators to assess effectiveness of HIV programs for mobile and migrant populations