CEH welcomes new Victorian HIV Strategy, calls for stronger focus on women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

CEH endorses the initiative of the Victorian HIV Strategy 2017-2020 and sees this as an opportunity for greater collaboration and coordination across the state. Most importantly, the strategy provides Victoria with the prospect of a new focus to ensure a more targeted approach and to redress current inequities in the way resources are allocated.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy launched the Victorian HIV Strategy 2017-2020 – at the fifth annual Blood Borne Virus and Sexually Transmissible Infections Forum on Wednesday 28 of June. The strategy is the Victorian Government’s roadmap which aims to eliminate HIV in the state.

Alison Coelho, Manager of the Multicultural Health & Support Service at the Centre for Culture Ethnicity & Health, has called on the state government to include more decisive action that will support women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

‘’Whilst women and CALD (cultural and linguistically diverse) populations are mentioned as ‘priority populations’, they are not addressed enough in the actual strategy within priority focus areas.” She said.

“This is a very significant issue and means that women from CALD communities will be lacking support. It is important to understand that Women at Greater Risk of HIV and female PLWHIV (People Living with HIV/AIDS) might not have the levels of agency, that others have, which may prevent them from benefiting from the strategy.  This could also be the case with International students, especially females,” She said.

The CEH recommends the state government take a number of steps to correct this, including the inclusion of more information as a basis for the priorities that have been set out.

‘’The strategy needs to provide some context regarding the number of people who are actually on treatment compared to the targets. Exploring this would support a more focused approach in the actions of the strategy.” Alison said. 

Read the CEH’s full response to the strategy here

For interview or comment contact: Matthew Loads M: 0403011174 e: matthewl@www.ceh.org.au 

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