The Kirby Institute at UNSW has received $4m as part of a $30m Government funding package that aims to support a major new prevention program and research to address increasing rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses including HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
The funding was announced on 12 August 2013 at the Kirby Institute by the Federal Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP. The $4m will create a new Minister’s Research Fellowship in Ending HIV.
“This is very welcome news from the Ministry,” said Professor David Cooper, Director of the Kirby Institute. “We know that investing in prevention messaging amongst risk groups is so important, but it should be partnered with research into prevention methods as well and this funding package addresses the need for both.”
The Minister said recent data showed that while the prevalence of HIV in Australia was low by international standards, new infections were on the rise.
“We can help to end HIV through our important prevention work, but continuing Australia’s world class research into finding a cure is critical too. This new fellowship will provide significant support to a leading HIV researcher to further their work,” Ms Plibersek said.
The multi-year funding commitment will allow the Kirby Institute to hire an outstanding researcher who will work collaboratively across the Institute’s programs.
“The Kirby Institute is globally recognised in the area HIV research,” said Professor Cooper. “I think this funding puts us in a particularly strong position to lead the way as opportunities for research in this area develop and we look forward seeing the future impact our work in this area will have on affected communities in Australia and world-wide.”
The Minister’s announcement was also met with enthusiasm by sector partners including: Terry Campbell, Senior Associate Dean (Research), UNSW Medicine; Levinia Crooks, CEO of ASHM; Professor Michael Kidd, Chair of the Australian Government’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections; Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON; and Helen Tyrrell, CEO of Hepatitis Australia.
About the Kirby Institute:
The Kirby Institute for infection and immunity in society is Australia’s premier infectious diseases
research institute. Based in Sydney, we conduct research into the HIV/AIDS epidemic, viral hepatitis, blood-borne viruses, and sexually transmissible infections in Australia. The Kirby Institute is a centre of the University of New South Wales.