AIDSfree Campaign Highlights Fast-Track Cities Approach
Atlanta and Fulton County Unite Fast-Track Cities Efforts at AIDSfree Cities Global Forum
The Chairman of the Fulton County, Georgia, USA, Board of Commissioners reinforced the City of Atlanta’s commitment to ending its local AIDS epidemic by signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities at the AIDSfree Cities Global Forum held January 30, 2019, in London.
Hosted by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and the Secretary of State for International Development, the Forum brought together more than 100 delegates to share best practices in urban AIDS responses.
The Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, Robb Pitts, formally signed the Paris Declaration at the Forum, joining with their county’s most populous city, Atlanta, and over 250 other municipalities around the world that are working to achieve United Nations programmatic targets aimed at reducing new HIV infections and preventing AIDS-related deaths.
“By signing Fulton County up as a Fast-Track City in partnership with the City of Atlanta, we are taking on the challenge to end new HIV infections in the capital by 2030,” said Pitts. “We must be ambitious, and I am confident that by working together we can achieve this goal.”
Leaders from two other cities represented at the Forum − London and Nairobi City County − also reaffirmed their commitments to the Fast-Track Cities initiative with a joint statement to redouble their efforts in the coming years. Nairobi City County was represented by Governor Mike Sonko, and London by Dr. Jane Anderson, who serves as co-Chair of that city’s Fast-Track Cities leadership team.
IAPAC collaborated with the Elton John AIDS Foundation and its partners to develop the Forum’s program focused on successes and challenges faced by six Fast-Track Cities − Atlanta, Delhi, Kyiv, London, Maputo, and Nairobi.
Among the many distinguished guests at a pre-Forum reception was Lord Speaker Norman Fowler of the UK House of Lords. Lord Fowler is widely respected for his leadership in addressing the HIV epidemic during his tenure as the UK’s Health Secretary in the 1980s. His public education campaign played a critical role in dispelling widespread myths about HIV and preventing new infections during a time when treatment options were often limited or unavailable.
The Fast-Track Cities initiative’s 90-90-90 programmatic targets are for each city to have 90% of people living with HIV to know their HIV status, ensure that 90% of diagnosed people living with HIV are receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), and having 90% of people living with HIV on ART attaining an undetectable viral load. London is the only one of the six cities represented at the Forum to have surpassed the 90-90-90 targets, announcing on World AIDS Day 2018 that it had reached 95-98-97.
During a Forum session chaired by IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga, representatives from Atlanta, Kyiv, London, and Maputo shared perspectives on the leadership and collaboration facilitators that have accelerated the pace of their local AIDS responses.
The Forum served as a prelude to the Fast-Track Cities 2019 conference that will be held by IAPAC, in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other partners, from September 8-11, 2019, in London.
“This forum allows us to celebrate [the cities’] successes, but also to speak bluntly about the challenges we face,” according to Dr. Zuniga, as quoted in the Evening Standard‘s coverage of the Forum. “We will take the lessons learned from this forum and bring them to the other cities.”