Review criticises leadership on HIV

Adam Cresswell; 6/10/09

Australia’s fight to contain HIV, hepatitis C and other serious infections has been hobbled by a lack of leadership, and poor communication from the agencies nominally in charge. An official independent review of the national strategies set up to combat HIV, hepatitisC and sexually transmitted infections has pointed the finger at a high-ranking federal committee, which it concludes failed to set goals or attempt to measure what impact its initiatives were having. The review, the final reports of which have been obtained by The Australian following a Freedom of Information request, also uncovered concerns that the committee failed to engage with relevant organisations, did not listen to their advice and did not even deal effectively with recommendations from its own subcommittees. Neither the committee nor the federal Health Department “exhibited the leadership expected in promoting the strategies and encouraging a national response” from 2005 to 2008, it found.