New Australian funding boosts commitment to preventing HIV and other STIs in the Pacific

On his recent visit to the Solomon Islands, the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Kevin Rudd, announced that the Australian Government will commit $30 million over a five-year period to the establishment of the ‘Pacific Islands HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Response Fund’.

Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), welcomed the announcement, saying ‘Australia’s commitment to scale up and sustain efforts to effectively address HIV and other STI issues in the Pacific through the HIV & STI Response Fund is remarkable. SPC applauds Australia’s commitment, and this recognition that urgent action is needed to prevent HIV taking hold in the region.’


The Response Fund complements other funding received separately from France, New Zealand, the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Asian Development Bank. It is designed to help Pacific Island countries and territories implement their own HIV and other STIs national strategies as well as national components of the Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV and other STIs, 2009–2013.

Dr Rodgers added that he hoped the Response Fund would provide a platform for further contributions from other current donors, such as New Zealand and France.

The Response Fund will continue to support some of the activities currently being implemented through the Australian-funded Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS Project based in Suva, Fiji. This includes specific grants for civil society organisations and support for capacity development organisations. It will also include, for the first time, annual allocations for Pacific Island countries and territories to help support the implementation of their national plans for preventing HIV and other STIs.

The establishment of the Response Fund follows the approval by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their meeting in Tonga last October of the extension of the current Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV. The Strategy has been amended to strengthen the focus on emerging trends, such as the increasing incidence of other STIs.

The Response Fund will be managed by SPC and overseen by an independent fund committee. It is separate to the funding provided to Papua New Guinea.

The Pacific region’s experience of HIV is unique. In Papua New Guinea, the largest country in the Pacific island region, HIV infection rates have reached epidemic levels. In other Pacific Island countries and territories, HIV prevalence is generally low, but research shows that numerous risk factors exist, indicating the potential for rapid spread of the virus. Major challenges that need to be addressed urgently in the region include high rates of STIs, gender inequality and high levels of gender-based violence, discrimination against people living with HIV, limited access to prevention, counselling and treatment services, and the need to better coordinate the delivery of these services.





For more information on the HIV & STI Response Fund or the Pacific Regional Strategy on HIV & other STIs, contact:


Nicole Gooch, HIV & STI Communications Officer, Public Health Programme, SPC,

Ph: + 687 26 67 71, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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Or Dr Dennie Iniakwala, HIV& STI Section Head, Public Health Programme, SPC,

Ph: +687 26 01 89, Email: [email protected]