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To: Stephen Wade, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, SA Liberal Party
Save Cheltenham Place - HIV is still here
Dear Minister Wade,
We call on you to reverse cruel cuts to the HIV support program Cheltenham Place. This programs saves the health system money while providing vital support to extremely vulnerable South Australians.
HIV is still here, and without continued support and funding to sustain programs like Cheltenham Place, we risk a re-emergence of increased transmission of HIV in our communities.
We implore you Minister, to reverse this terrible decision and continue funding for services that support people living with HIV in South Australia.
Why is this important?
Cheltenham Place is a vital service for South Australia's HIV-positive population. It provides many specialist supports and respite accommodation to people living with HIV and their carers. It is a safe place for them, away from stigma and discrimination; set up to meet –psychosocial and medical needs. The clients of Cheltenham Place have high and complex needs. Most have diagnosed mental health issues. Some have drug and alcohol challenges, physical disabilities and, others have experienced homelessness.
In 17/18, the service worked with nearly 100 people, including those recently diagnosed with HIV, and facilitated 10 early hospital discharges and 37 hospital avoidances. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research shows that conservatively calculated, that has saved the health budget more than $800,000, saving the Government purse far more than its modest $411,000 operational sting each year.
Despite all of this, Minister Wade has announced he will discontinue funding for Cheltenham Place from 1 January 2019, forcing it's closure.
HIV is still here. Each year in South Australia we have seen an average of 59 new HIV diagnoses. We know that not all people with HIV are aware they have the virus, and this is why sustained investment in testing and treatment is so important. Our State Government has now removed the only specialist HIV respite and outreach support service in South Australia while simultaneously reducing funding for STI and BBV testing and education programs.