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A message from Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC, ahead of World AIDS Day

  • 30 Nov 2023

Brendan Crabb, wearing glasses, looking at the camera, standing in front of a bookshelf.

On 1 December, Burnet Institute comes together with communities and our partners to commemorate World AIDS Day.

Since the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Burnet has been at the forefront of addressing some of the biggest challenges of HIV.

Burnet’s response at the start of the HIV crisis was what led to the Institute establishing itself as an independent body, and ultimately laid the foundations for our organisation. 

Under the leadership of Professor Ian Gust, Burnet developed a clear point of differentiation: ensuring that advances in basic research were translated into lasting health benefits, especially for people in the developing world.

The commitment made during the early years of the HIV crisis remains our guiding principle to this day, with impact and health equity at the centre of everything we do.

Throughout the past 40 years, we have seen tremendous advances in HIV prevention, treatment, and care, underpinned by the collective efforts of communities, scientists, health practitioners, and researchers.

Burnet is proud to have contributed to these innovations, from leading discovery research focused on new classes of HIV drugs, to developing low-cost, point-of-care HIV diagnostics, and supporting multiple national AIDS strategies across the world.

During this period, we have built extensive partnerships and relationships, both in Australia and globally, in a common pursuit to eliminate HIV. And we remain steadfast in maintaining and building on these collaborations, especially with key populations and people living with HIV in Australia and abroad.

In doing so, we must be mindful that advances in HIV have not been equitable around the world.

While Australia has seen dramatic reductions in HIV transmission numbers throughout the past decade, this is not the case for our neighbours in the region. Rapidly escalating HIV epidemics in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Fiji demonstrate there is still work to be done to end AIDS as a health threat by 2030.

To achieve this, we must look beyond our shores to ensure our progress is inclusive and reaches all people, no matter their status, location, or background, so that no-one is left behind.

We need to dispel the stigma and discrimination that continues to affect people living with HIV and limits others from accessing life-saving HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.

Burnet remains unwavering in our commitment to this endeavour: to achieve the global goal of HIV elimination and strive for a more equitable world through better health.