Austria’s Strict Migration Rules Could Risk HIV Prevention by 2030


Australia’s migration visa rules could jeopardize the goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030.
People affected by HIV are choosing the cheapest treatment out of fear that their applications for permanent residence will be rejected.
The HIV preventive medication (PrEP) introduced in Austria reduces the risk of this disease by 99 percent.

Australia, known as a world leader in extending PrEP, an antiviral medicine that prevents HIV, to groups at risk of HIV, is seeking to eliminate the transmission of this illness by 2030.

However, as the Monash University sexual health expert explained, Austria’s migration rules could jeopardize its goal of ending the epidemic, VisaGuide.World reports.

Some people living with HIV are choosing cheaper, suboptimal antiretroviral treatment (ART) out of fear that their applications for permanent residency (PR) will be rejected.
Associate Professor Jason Ong of the Melbourne Sexual Health Centre (MSHC)
People Affected With HIV Face Strict Demands in Australia’s Health System

He further pointed out that this problem arises because people living with HIV must show that their medical expenses will not exceed $51,000 over ten years – a requirement known as the Significant Cost Threshold, designed to screen applicants who may present additional costs to Australia’s health system.

The Australian immigration system has very strict rules for people applying for permanent residence, including regulations regarding health and disability. These rules are called “health requirements”.

All permanent visa applicants aged 15 and over must take an HIV blood test. Family members of a permanent visa applicant over 15 years of age and listed as dependents on the visa application must also be tested. At the same time, children under 15 are tested for HIV when applying for a permanent visa or when they are included as a dependent on an adult’s application.

Oral PrEP Introduction in Austria Helped to Reduce Rate of New HIV Diagnoses Dramatically

Based on the report of the HIV Working Group, in 2016, Oral PrEP was registered in the Australian Registry of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Its introduction contributed to a dramatic decrease in the rate of new HIV diagnoses. As a result, in 2022, there were 555 HIV notifications in Australia, which means almost half the number of cases in 2016 (1,006). As a single preventive medication, PrEP reduces the risk of acquiring HIV through sexual activity by 99 percent.

The Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has also called for an end to AIDS by 2030. It defines this as a 90 percent reduction in new HIV infections and deaths of AIDS by 2030, compared to a 2010 baseline.

In Ending the HIV Epidemic in the United States, the US aims for a 75 percent reduction in new HIV infections by 2025. The United Kingdom is even more ambitious, aiming for zero HIV transmission by 2030.

Agenda 2025 Ending HIV Transmission in Australia revealed that if the number of HIV diagnoses in Australia continues in 2030 at 2019 levels, 9010 people will acquire HIV.

By achieving virtual elimination by 2025, Australia will prevent over 6,000 people from acquiring HIV by 2030. By this time, the country will have also avoided $1.4 billion in treatment and care costs for HIV.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data shows that 42,076 individuals in Australia were provided with subsidized PrEP by the end of 2020.


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