The World Health Organization’s top medical expert says the country needs to address the virus’ global reach and the impact it is having on people and communities.
The medical journal The Lancet has issued a warning to Australia about its ability to contain the virus.
“We know from past experience that countries have been very slow to implement measures that could have helped,” Dr. Jeffrey Miron, director of the division of infectious diseases at The Lancet, told reporters in Geneva.
“What we need to do is take the global perspective, the political and financial perspective, and see if we can make an example of Australia, because the number one challenge for people is access.”
Australia has been the top-risk country in the world for people to contract HIV.
That has prompted concerns that Australia is becoming a global hotbed for the virus, with some Australians saying they are scared to walk down the street.
In a recent ABC News program, a Sydney man said he was scared to leave his apartment after being bitten by a human-to-human transmission of the virus from a needle-sharing network in Sydney’s inner-west.
The United Nations has warned that the global outbreak could have “grave consequences” for Australia.
The Australian government has been criticized for its lack of response to the crisis, with the country’s minister for health, Peter Dutton, saying it has “not taken any decisive steps to deal with the situation.”
Dr. Miron said the country has “taken steps to reduce its own numbers, but it’s still the highest number of people living with HIV in the OECD, by a very wide margin.”
He said Australia could see a rise in the number of cases of HIV, and also the need for additional treatment to treat the virus as the virus moves around the world.
He said the Australian government must “get out there, do what we can to reduce the number and the burden of the disease.”
Australia’s top doctor says we need ‘a whole new approach’The Lancet study comes as President Donald Trump has declared war on HIV and AIDS.
The president, who has called it a “disaster” that is causing “a massive loss of life and billions of dollars,” has been pushing to roll back laws that prevent the spread of the epidemic.
He has also called for federal governments to fund new research into how the virus is transmitted.