Indigenous people globally remain resilient yet vulnerable to the threats of HIV. Although Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience the worst health status of any identifable group in Australia, with a standardized morbidity rate three times that of non-Indigenous Australians, the Australian response to HIV has resulted in relatively low and stable rates of HIV infection among Australia’s Indigenous peoples. This paper examines the reasons for the success of HIV prevention efforts. These include early recognition by Indigenous peoples of the potential effect that HIV could have on their communities; the supply of health hardware (needle and syringe programs and condoms); the development and implementation of culturally-appropriate health promotion messages such as the internationally-recognized Condoman campaign; the inclusion of dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sexual Health Workers in communities; and an inclusive policy and partnership approach. Furthermore, the efforts of peak Aboriginal health organizations including NACCHO and its member services and Indigenous programs in peak mainstream organizations like AFAO and its member organizations, have all contributed to prevention success. Efforts need to be maintained however to ensure an escalated epidemic does not occur, particularly among heterosexual people, especially women, and people who inject drugs. New ideas are required as we enter a new era of HIV prevention within the context of the new paradigm of treatment as prevention, and getting to zero new infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases