Draft HIV Action Plan consultation
Manatū Hauora Wants to Hear From You!
Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health) wants to hear your voice on the content and future implementation of the new HIV Action Plan.
This will be the first time in almost two decades that the health system and other national and regional agencies are going to be guided by a strategic approach, so it’s really important that things are prioritised right to meet the needs of communities most impacted by HIV and those living with HIV.
You can read the draft HIV Action Plan here.
What is it?
The draft HIV Action Plan outlines the actions required over the next 10 years to eliminate HIV transmission in Aotearoa New Zealand and ensure that people living with HIV have healthy lives free from stigma and discrimination. It includes information about the epidemiological situation here in Aotearoa, as well as outlines the priority groups and settings and focus areas of action.
Aotearoa is a signatory to the 2021 United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS that set ambitious targets to guide the HIV response worldwide. In the general population, we have a low prevalence of HIV in Aotearoa compared to many other countries, but much more needs to be done to meet these targets. This involves increasing access to combination prevention and ensuring people living with HIV have stable access to antiretroviral therapies to maintain viral suppression. The draft HIV Action Plan provides a roadmap to ensure Aotearoa achieves this.
Who wrote it?
It was written in 2021 by Manatū Hauora, with input from the clinical, research and community sectors. Manatū Hauora also invited the members of the sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI) strategy working group to feedback into the plan. While organisations like Burnett Foundation Aotearoa, Body Positive, Positive Women, Toitū te Ao, Te Whāriki Takapou, and others were also given an opportunity to review and provide feedback to the plan, the document ultimately represents the vision of Manatū Hauora.
Is it funded?
$18 million has been allocated from Budget 2022 to fund this HIV Action Plan. The Government has publicly confirmed that this is in addition to existing HIV prevention and support funding.
Manatū Hauora is seeking feedback about the overall draft HIV Action Plan and the actions from the plan that should be prioritised and funded over the next four years. This feedback will be used to finalise and publish the HIV Action Plan and develop an implementation plan for the next four years. They are particularly keen to hear from communities living with and affected by HIV and people working in the HIV sector.
You can participate in three different ways: in-person sessions, online sessions, and feedback through an online form. You can attend multiple sessions and you can provide feedback through the written online form and attend an online or in-person session if you wish.
Both face-to-face and online sessions will begin with a general discussion about the draft HIV Action Plan and people will then be asked to identify which actions from each focus area of the draft HIV Action Plan should be prioritised and funded over the next four years. Please ensure you read the draft plan before attending a session.
We encourage gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBM) to attend the face-to-face sessions and the general online session. We know that GBM are disproportionately affected by HIV in Aotearoa. Local research shows they are 348 times more likely than heterosexual people in Aotearoa to be diagnosed with HIV. As such, it is really important for GBM communities to attend the consultation and share their perspectives around priority areas based on their lived experiences and their sexual health needs.
Manatū Hauora will host three face-to-face sessions. Dates and times for these are listed below. If you are interested in attending a session, please RSVP by emailing [email protected].
- Date: 23rd August 2022
- Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
- Location: AUT city campus, WF702 room
- Date: 24th August 2022
- Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
- Location: Manatū Hauora (Ministry of Health), room GC.1/GC.2
- Date: 25th August 2022
- Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
- Location: Woolston Community Library
Manatū Hauora will host four online sessions using Microsoft Teams. Dates and times for the sessions are listed below. You can attend multiple sessions if you wish.
If you are interested in attending a session, please RSVP by emailing [email protected].
Tuesday, 6 September 2022
- 12pm – 1pm for clinical professionals and researchers in the HIV sector (the session can be accessed here)
- 5pm – 6pm for transgender and non-binary communities (the session can be accessed here)
- 7pm – 8pm for African communities (the session can be accessed here)
Wednesday, 7 September 2022
- 5pm – 6pm for a general session (the session can be accessed here)
Online feedback form
An online feedback form will be available on Manatū Hauora’s citizen space website from Monday 22nd August for a period of 3 weeks. You can access the form here when it is launched.
Where do I start?
To start with, it’s best to have a good read of the draft HIV Action Plan. The more familiar you feel with the plan, the easier it will be to speak at a session or write your online feedback form.
Here are some questions you could ask yourself when reading the plan:
- Does the plan and its focus areas reflect what I think should be prioritised?
- How would investment into certain actions over others impact me and my communities?
- What actions would make the biggest difference to me and my communities?
What should I include in my feedback?
You may read through the plan and feel that it already covers what you believe needs to happen to help Aotearoa eliminate HIV transmission and ensure wellbeing of people living with HIV. If that’s the case, you can simply write that you support the plan and its intent.
If you feel that the plan can be improved, you would want your feedback in the sessions or your written feedback to include what you want to be changed about the plan. Even if you feel the plan is heading in the right direction, you may still want to share what actions you think need to be prioritised over the next four years.
In your feedback, you should briefly explain the ‘why’ behind your ideas and include evidence. This evidence can be from research or from lived experience. Personal stories can have a really big impact but it is totally up to you whether you want to give personal examples or not. Be mindful of giving too many personal details though - the sessions are public forums and the public can have access to your online feedback form. You should also make sure you have the consent of others when sharing their stories as part of your submission. Remember, you do not have to share anything if you don’t want to and you should only share if it doesn’t come at the expense of your wellbeing.
Manatū Hauora would prefer not to receive feedback forms that have ‘copy and pasted’ content or that say the exact same thing as others’ forms. It is best to write what you think in your own words, even if it is simple and brief.
It’s okay to assume Manatū Hauora knows the plan quite well, so you don’t have to spend time in your submission explaining the details of the plan before making your points. However, it might be a good idea mention the page number if you are referencing something very specific from the HIV Action Plan.
Tips for face-to-face or online sessions:
- Prepare beforehand about what you might want to talk about if you are going to one of the sessions
- Be ready to answer any clarifying questions about your perspectives at the sessions
- Pay attention to what others are saying in the hui
Burnett Foundation Aotearoa has been at the forefront of the community response to HIV in Aotearoa for nearly 40 years. We are excited that an action plan has been developed. With effective prioritisation and implementation, we believe this plan has a real chance to be instrumental to eliminating new local HIV transmissions and ensuring the wellbeing of people living with HIV.
We know that GBM are disproportionately affected by HIV in Aotearoa. Local research shows they are 348 times more likely than heterosexual people in Aotearoa to be diagnosed with HIV. We also know that about half of GBM are not open with their GP about their sexual orientation or behaviour.
At present, Aotearoa has been experiencing falling HIV rates thanks to the effects of combination prevention tools. However, Aotearoa must significantly scale up and ensure equitable access to combination prevention in order to sustainably eliminate local HIV transmission.
As we get closer to eliminating local HIV transmissions in Aotearoa, it will be more difficult to achieve zero new cases. This is because we will need to ensure we are reaching populations that have not been engaged in currently available messaging and services so far.
Burnett Foundation Aotearoa will be providing feedback to Manatū Hauora to inform the final draft and the future implementation of the plan.
There are many actions in the plan that have the potential to improve the lives of people living with HIV and help us reach the goal of eliminating local HIV infections.
Among those actions, Burnett Foundation Aotearoa will advocate to prioritise the following in the first instance:
1. Sustaining and increasing access to combination prevention tools and coverage of comprehensive sexual health screening for GBM.
- Ensuring access to HIV testing and combination prevention for those who are not eligible for publicly funded services, such as international students and other migrants staying in Aotearoa on temporary visas.
- Upskilling primary healthcare to prescribe PrEP and PEP and deliver comprehensive sexual health screening for GBM.
- Expanding telehealth (and other remote delivery) options for HIV testing, treatment, and access to PrEP and PEP.
- Developing robust clinical guidance for PrEP and PEP to inform appropriate prescribing.
- Delivering targeted education and promotion of HIV and STI screenings for GBM.
- Ensuring meaningful involvement of Māori GBM and Takatāpui in the development and delivery of culturally safe health promotion that increases the uptake of HIV combination prevention measures among Māori GBM and Takatāpui at elevated risk of HIV.
2. Regular and comprehensive surveillance, monitoring, and research about local HIV epidemiology and gaps in access to and uptake of HIV combination prevention and sexual health screening.
- Conducting regular biobehavioural surveillance studies among GBM and their sexual networks to guide the tailored response to the epidemic.
- Regular monitoring of HIV testing rates, disaggregated by key demographics and sexual behaviour where possible; this needs to include equity measures.
- Undertaking research to help identify and understand inequities in uptake and access to combination prevention and sexual health screening.
3. Increasing access to appropriate support for people living with HIV and implementing initiatives that reduce HIV stigma and discrimination as guided by the Aotearoa People Living with HIV Stigma Index Group and relevant networks of people living with HIV in Aotearoa.