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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 20858

Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Project

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/08/2003

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 20858

HIV/AIDS is an issue of considerable concern to Pacific leaders meeting here in Auckland. It is a significant problem in many developing countries. It poses serious social, economic and other development challenges.

I am thus pleased to announce an initiative by Australia targeting the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the Pacific region.

The Australian Government will provide A$12.5 million over five years for the Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Project (PRHP). This represents a significant 43 per cent increase in Australian Government funding to target HIV/AIDS in the Pacific region. In the Pacific the threat posed by the epidemic continues to escalate requiring serious and immediate action by the Forum Island Countries. Over 1200 infections have been reported in the Pacific.

The Project will strengthen the capacity of Pacific Island Governments, NGOs and communities to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Pacific. It will aim at changing behaviour through community education programs.

A $5 million grants scheme will assist the governments, NGOs and community based organisations to implement activities targeting women, youth and other vulnerable groups; services examining the relationship between alcohol, violence and STI/HIV/AIDS; and activities addressing the ethical, legal and human rights issues relevant to reducing the stigma of HIV/AIDS/STI.

The project will be based in Suva, Fiji with representatives from AusAID, SPC Noumea, UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, the Fiji School of Medicine and Pacific island countries participating.

This will complement the five year $60 million activity we fund in PNG where an estimated 20,000 - 25,000 people are already affected by HIV/AIDS.

The announcement builds on Australia's leadership role in this area and our commitment to working with the region in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Transcript 20858