Global Leaders Underscore Pandemic Preparedness at Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 Conference

Global Leaders Underscore Pandemic Preparedness at Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 Conference

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), opened the Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference on September 9, 2020, on a cautious note, reminding the more than 1,500 online delegates that scientific progress against COVID-19 must rest on a solid foundation of evidence. Dr. Fauci emphasized that, although people living with HIV who are on effective treatment are not at increased risk of severe COVID-19 complications, people who have underlying co-morbidities are at an elevated risk. He expressed hope that a safe and effective vaccine would be approved soon.

“We would hope that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year that we would have a vaccine that is both safe and effective,” said Dr. Fauci, who noted that millions of vaccine doses are already being prepared once a candidate receives authorization. In response to a follow-up question about the intersection of politics and public health policy, he remarked, “you have to be able to function in the context of good public health practices, at the same time that it seems that everything is politicized.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci (NIAID) fielded questions from Dr. José M. Zuniga (IAPAC)

 

Dr. Fauci’s remarks followed a High-Level Panel, led by Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina, to discuss the challenges of confronting transnational public health crises in urban settings with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Mayor Josefina Belmonte, Quezon City, Philippines; Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, eThekwini, South Africa; and Mayor Geoff Makhubo, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina spoke with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

 

The Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference is the second annual gathering of more than 300 cities and municipalities around the world that are committed to ending their HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030. Progress towards this commitment has been interrupted by the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused disruptions in HIV and other health services worldwide.

“IAPAC is proud of the healthcare workers who are putting themselves on the line to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the scientists and public health experts working to develop and prepare for the distribution of vaccines and treatments using time-tested trial and approval processes,” said Dr. José M. Zuniga, President/CEO of IAPAC, which is co-convening the Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the Fast-Track Cities Institute.

Echoing an assertion he made in a commentary published in the journal AIDS Reviews, Dr. Zuniga indicated that the public health response to SARS-CoV-2 got a head-start by relying on the existing infrastructure that was built to end the HIV epidemic, but that leveraging that infrastructure served to disrupt a continuity of health services care for people living with HIV, TB, viral hepatitis, and other chronic diseases.

“In the midst of this global public health crisis, civic leaders at all levels of government are recognizing the urgent need to repair the cracks in our health infrastructure that have been laid bare by COVID-19 and to improve preparedness for future pandemics,” Dr. Zuniga added. “We cannot end any epidemic until everyone has equal access to the prevention, testing, and treatment services that are essential elements of the human right to health.”

The first day’s program included four cross-cutting plenaries focused on confronting the COVID-19 “infodemic” as a public health threat; addressing health disparities contributing to uneven COVID-19 outcomes in communities of color; facilitating the continuity of HIV and other health responses (e.g., TB, viral hepatitis); and addressing the fragility that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed in almost every health system worldwide.

The conference’s final day (September 10, 2020) featured clinical case studies from 18 Fast-Track Cities from around the world to illustrate public health leadership in responding to COVID-19 in urban areas. These case studies (including Atlanta, Bangkok, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kigali, Kyiv, Lisbon, London, Lusaka, Maputo City, Mexico City, Milan, Melbourne, Montréal, New York City, Paris, São Paulo, and Yaoundé) reported on the latest data trends and disruptions to health services, highlighted innovations to maintain continuity of care for people living with HIV and other chronic diseases, and offered emerging insights about pandemic preparedness.

International public health experts called for the development of a new “global health order” during a closing panel representing UNAIDS; the World Health Organization (WHO); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR); UNITE (a global network of national parliamentarians); and the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC).

 

Dr. Ren Minghui, World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Communicable/Non-Communicable Diseases

 

“It is clear that COVID-19 will be with us for many more months to come,” said Dr. Ren Minghui, World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Communicable/Non-Communicable Diseases. He highlighted a recent WHO survey from 91 countries, whose data indicated a diversion of healthcare personnel from existing duties (such as providing HIV and other essential services) and decreases in outpatient volume were among the top causes of disruptions to continuity of care.

During his closing remarks, IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga said that, “Countries cannot hijack infrastructures created over many years for mature pandemics such as HIV and tuberculosis (TB) without a steep cost paid by people living with HIV and other diseases against which we have been making steady progress. He added that countries also “cannot siphon off funding for pandemic preparedness even as we confront economic recessions. Surely, we can prioritize realizing the right to health for all and the right to cities and municipalities as places that guarantee a decent and full life for all their inhabitants.”

Dr. Ricardo Baptista Leite, Founder and President of the UNITE network of parliamentarians, proposed that “the current [COVID-19] pandemic presents an extraordinary opportunity to reorganize the global health order.” He spoke of the need for a “NATO for health” focused on the operational aspects of multilateral public health policy in lieu of the more diplomatic and technical focus of global institutions such as the WHO.

The Virtual Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference was convened by IAPAC in partnership with UNAIDS and the Fast-Track Cities Institute, and with sponsorship support from Gilead Sciences and ViiV Healthcare.

 

Highlights from Fast-Track Cities Case Studies


Public health experts and civic leaders from Atlanta, Bangkok, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kigali, Kyiv, Lisbon, London, Lusaka, Maputo City, Mexico City, Milan, Melbourne, Montréal, New York City, Paris, São Paulo, and Yaoundé described how local communities have responded and adapted to the impact of COVID-19, especially with respect to people living with HIV, tuberculosis, and HCV.

Representatives from European cities said that they were generally able to harness innovations such as telemedicine to maintain health services, particularly for marginalized populations such as migrants, homeless people, and people who use drugs. Olena Lukashevych from the Kyiv City Public Health Centre in the Ukraine stressed that supply chain disruptions persist for the provision of personal protective equipment, medicines, and testing capacity.

Simon Ruth of Thorne Harbour Health in Melbourne, Australia, said that social media messaging has been one of the primary forms of communication during the severe lockdowns that have been seen recently, particularly in the state of Victoria where he operates. He noted that it is currently unclear to what extent reported declines in new infections of HBV (22%), HCV (22%), syphilis (5%), HIV (10%), and gonorrhea (20%) represent reduced use of testing services or actual declines in sexual activity.

Suilanji Sivile from the Rwandan Ministry of Health testified that although his country has so far avoided any “catastrophic” incidents, such as running out of supplies, the country has nevertheless been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that some people living with HIV in Kigali and across Rwanda have had to switch to alternative antiretroviral medications when their normal medicine is in short supply due to stock-outs.

Maputo City Council representative Bélia Nyambir Xirinda emphasized the role of creating safe spaces for people infected with and recovered from COVID-19, adding that although the capital city accounts for 25% of the confirmed cases in Mozambique, only 28 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 across the country at large.

“The [COVID-19] epidemic has moved from more urban to more rural communities,” said Dr. Carlos del Rio of Emery University in Atlanta, GA, USA, who reported that although the State of Georgia has made tremendous progress, dropping to a current rate of 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents, much work remains to end the public emergency locally and abroad. “The impact on HIV has not been as significant as we thought it would be,” said del Rio, however, he warned that underlying comorbidities such as diabetes and hypertension remain a cause for concern regardless of a person’s HIV status.

“A lot of things that seemed impossible six months ago have now become possible,” said Dr. Anisha Gandhi of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who also said she believes the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for systemic change.

Global Experts Warn of COVID-19-Related HIV Service Disruptions

Global Experts Warn of COVID-19-Related HIV Service Disruptions

Over two days preceding the 23rd International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2020), the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), in partnership with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), hosted the sixth 90-90-90 Targets Update. Not surprisingly, COVID-19 loomed over most of the discussions related to progress, barriers, and opportunities for attaining and surpassing the targets at global, national, and municipal levels.

Representatives from UNAIDS, IAPAC, the World Health Organization (WHO), and U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), raised concerns about disruptions to health services for people living with HIV caused by the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We could have an additional 500,000 AIDS-related deaths, including [tuberculosis], by the end of the year if the severe disruptions were to continue for another six months,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima during a conversation with IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga on June 30, 2020, that focused on HIV, COVID-19, and health inequalities.

Ms. Byanyima added that cost must not become a barrier to treatment for people who acquire the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and renewed her advocacy for a “People’s Vaccine” against COVID-19, which more than 140 world leaders and public health experts are calling for, noting that “access to vaccines and treatments as global public goods are in the interests of all humanity.”

In opening the dialogue with Ms. Byanyima, Dr. Zuniga cited data from a recently completed IAPAC survey of more than 500 clinicians treating people living with HIV. The survey results revealed significant disruptions in access to critical HIV services, as well as an overall 53% repurposing of the HIV health workforce to manage COVID-19 across the 75 countries where the survey was fielded.

“Any disruption to HIV and health services can turn a local crisis into a humanitarian catastrophe, which we are all trying to avoid,” said Dr. Zuniga, who also spoke to the work that Fast-Track Cities are doing to mitigate HIV service disruption while coping with burgeoning local COVID-19 epidemics. “The global HIV community is focused on leveraging innovation, facilitating community engagement, and prioritizing human rights to mitigate potential harm to people living with and affected by HIV. Sustained access to quality health services is vital to ending the HIV and COVID-19 pandemics.”

In a second 90-90-90 Targets Update session focused on HIV and COVID-19 held on July 1, 2020, representatives from UNAIDS, WHO, and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) discussed innovations that are being implemented to minimize HIV service disruptions.

Dr. Meg Doherty, Director of the WHO’s HIV, Hepatitis, and STIs Programs, offered insights from a recent survey of countries reporting partial or complete disruptions across 25 types of health services, including non-communicable disease diagnosis and treatment (69%). According to Dr. Doherty, part of the work that the WHO is advancing relates to understanding if there is a particular relationship between HIV and COVID-19. She added that although data indicate there is an increased risk of death due to COVID-19 among people living with HIV, ultimately, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension have thus far been associated with the most severe disease complications and increased mortality.

“Bigger disruptions are seen in routine immunization (up to 70%), family planning, and certainly antenatal care, and these are also important for people living with HIV, because these are important entry points,” said Dr. Doherty. “We know that people are not coming to services and that we have to get those services back up and running in a safe manner.”

Differentiated service delivery, multi-month drug dispensing of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, and telemedicine platforms were among the innovations cited by Dr. Angeli Achrekar, Principal Deputy US Global AIDS Coordinator, during a presentation about PEPFAR’s efforts to maintain the continuity of HIV services in more than 50 countries.

“Ensuring continuity of care for people living with HIV is a primary concern and focus of ours to really ensure that those 15.7 million people that we have on life-saving treatment are maintained on that service, as well as maintaining virologic suppression,” said Dr. Achrekar.

In relation to multi-month dispensing of ARV drugs, the WHO’s Dr. Doherty also remarked that, while the strategy is prudent in light of COVID-19-related restrictive measures, the potential for stock-outs must also be taken into consideration.

Dr. Shannon Hader, UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director, Programs, warned that even a six-month disruption in the supply of ARV drugs could set global progress on AIDS back over a decade. After the acute phase of the crisis has passed, she concluded, it will be vital to ensure that healthcare commodities continue to remain available to people living with HIV. But she stressed that above these operational considerations, all parties engaged in the COVID-19 response must facilitate a rights-based approach that places affected communities at the center of HIV and COVID-19 responses.

“Early on, there was a lot of discussion when public health responses for COVID were being talked about, ‘Oh well you know it’s a trade-off between public health and human rights, and we’re just going to have to live with it,’” said Dr. Hader. “We know from HIV that the most effective public health response, that gets to the endgame, is also a rights-based and community-led response. They’re not in conflict at all.”

Other sessions featured during the 2020 90-90-90 Targets Update included:

The 2020 90-90-90 Targets Update was made possible through corporate sponsorships from ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences. 

IAPAC Retrofits Fast-Track Cities Dashboards to Visualize COVID-19 Data and Resources

IAPAC Retrofits Fast-Track Cities Dashboards to Visualize COVID-19 Data and Resources

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (April 20, 2020) – The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), in partnership with Dure Technologies and the Fast-Track Cities Institute, is retrofitting its Fast-Track City dashboards to visualize confirmed COVID-19 case, death, and recovery data alongside existing municipal-level HIV data the dashboards have visualized since 2015. In addition to the COVID-19 data, the retrofitted dashboards will map COVID-19-related services and illustrate COVID-19 data trends.

The first two retrofitted Fast-Track City dashboards launched today are for the cities of London and New York City. Additional retrofitted dashboards will be launched later this week, available via the Fast-Track Cities Global Web Portal. Following are links to the London and New York City dashboards:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting health systems in urban centers and its impact can be measured in lives endangered and too many lives tragically lost,” said IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga, who is Chair of the Fast-Track Cities Institute. “By retrofitting city dashboards, we remain true to a central tenet of the Fast-Track Cities initiative: data-driven action. Visualizing a city’s COVID-19 data reinforces local public health measures to mitigate new SARS-CoV-2 infections. Mapping COVID-19-related services is also public service to complement efforts by local health departments to communicate critical public health resources and other information.”

“We are proud to partner with IAPAC and the Fast-Track Cities Institute to leverage Fast-Track Cities dashboards to serve the public good at a time of suffering caused by the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic,” said Vipin Yadav, CEO of Dure Technologies, the Fast-Track Cities initiative’s IT partner. “While we hope local COVID-19 epidemics subside in the near future, we believe cutting-edge technology is key to advancing public health initiatives. We are prepared to continue delivering this public service to Fast-Track Cities for the foreseeable future.”

COVID-19 and HIV, TB, and Viral Hepatitis Education

While there are not enough data today to determine whether people living with HIV are at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, people who have underlying conditions, including infectious diseases, are at greater potential risk of severe complications from COVID-19. Moreover, preliminary results of an IAPAC survey of HIV-treating clinicians indicate disruptions in prevention, care, treatment, and psychosocial services being delivered to people living with and at-risk for HIV. The Fast-Track Cities initiative, through IAPAC, is coordinating a series of educational webinars to educate clinicians and allied healthcare providers in Fast-Track Cities about evidence-based recommendations for managing COVID-19 for people living with HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and/or viral hepatitis.

Following the postponement of its planned Adherence 2020 conference in June 2020 due to COVID-19-related restrictive measures, IAPAC will also host a virtual Adherence 2020 pre-conference from 12-5 pm ET, May 6, 2020, focused on the “Continuity of HIV Care in the Presence of COVID-19.” Moderated by Dr. Zuniga with welcome remarks by Dr. Shannon Hader, Deputy Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the pre-conference will feature from clinician and community experts. To register online or for more information about the pre-conference, visit: https://www.iapac.org/conferences/adherence-2020-virtual-pre-conference/

Additionally, IAPAC is maintaining a repository of regularly updated evidence-based COVID-19 resources and recommendations, which can be accessed on the IAPAC website at: https://www.iapac.org/hiv-covid-19/

Fast-Track City Dashboards

Since 2015, IAPAC has developed city dashboards through support from multiple grantors, including the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, MAC AIDS Fund, Merck & Co., President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), US Agency for International Development (USAID), and ViiV Healthcare.

About Fast-Track Cities

Fast-Track Cities is a network of more than 300 cities and municipalities striving to their end urban HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030. 

About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care

With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. IAPAC is also a core technical partner of the Fast-Track Cities initiative and serves as the Secretariat for the Fast-Track Cities Institute. 

IAPAC Announces Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund

IAPAC Announces Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund

ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences Support Fund with Combined $750,000 Contribution to Support Implementation Science Studies in Fast-Track Cities

WASHINGTON, DC, USA (April 28, 2020) – The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) announced the launch of a Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund today to support clinical and community researchers to conduct studies aimed at identifying optimally effective interventions, policies, and strategies that enhance urban HIV responses. The first round of study grants will be supported by a combined $750,000 investment by ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences, which will be managed by IAPAC in coordination with an international Expert Advisory Committee.

In making the announcement, IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga noted that the rational allocation of limited human and financial resources requires new insights to guide clinical, public health, and financial decision-making among Fast-Track Cities in pursuit of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets.

He indicated the scientific field in which these types of questions are best asked and answered is implementation science, which aims to investigate barriers to the effective implementation of evidence-based interventions for public health impact and to test new approaches to implementing these interventions.

“IAPAC is proud to launch the Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund, with initial support from ViiV Healthcare and Gilead Sciences, as a vehicle to inform local decision-makers to implement interventions, policies, and strategies that can improve HIV prevention and treatment outcomes within urban HIV responses,” said Dr. Zuniga. “The funded studies will examine implementation gaps relevant to optimizing HIV care and prevention continua, without which Fast-Track Cities cannot attain and exceed the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets on a trajectory towards getting to zero new HIV infections and zero AIDS-related deaths.”

“The incredible progress made in treating and preventing HIV over the past 30 years has saved millions of lives and provided us with the tools needed to end the epidemic. However, without the effective implementation of HIV health services that take into account real-world challenges to ensure all individuals are tested, treated and cared for, our best efforts to end the epidemic will not be successful. ViiV Healthcare is proud to support IAPAC as part of our pioneering commitment to implementation science to bridge the gaps between HIV research and clinical practice,” said Dr. Maggie Czarnogorski, Director of Implementation Science at ViiV Healthcare.

“Gilead is pleased to support IAPAC with the launch of a Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund. We know that it takes more than medicines to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS and are committed to supporting implementation science. The resources will address critical gaps, disparities and stigma to help identify the best interventions for Fast-Track Cities to attain and exceed the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets,” said Mr. Korab Zuka, Vice President of Public Affairs at Gilead Sciences.

The Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund will prioritize the following gaps for study: 1) finding and testing HIV unawares; 2) improving linkage to HIV prevention, care, and support services; 3) promoting the prompt initiation of and adherence to antiretroviral therapy; 4) maximizing retention and long-term engagement in HIV care; 5) improving health-related quality of life and quality of care; 6) addressing disparities in access to/utilization of HIV prevention and care services; 7) optimizing care for unique populations, including children, adolescents and elderly people living with HIV; 8) eliminating stigma and discrimination, notably within health settings; and 9) accelerating uptake of innovative policies and programs, as well as new diagnostics, medicines, and technologies.

The Fast-Track Cities Implementation Science Fund’s international Expert Advisory Committee is comprised of implementation science experts and community researchers. They are tasked with establishing study criteria, reviewing/approving study proposals, and analyzing/translating study results for dissemination across the Fast-Track Cities network. The Expert Advisory Committee is expected to approve Letter of Interest (LOI) guidance that will be made available to interested applicants at www.iapac.org in early May 2020.

About Fast-Track Cities
Fast-Track Cities is a network of more than 300 cities and municipalities striving to their end urban HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030.

About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care
With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. IAPAC is also a core technical partner of the Fast-Track Cities initiative. 

IAPAC, UN-Habitat Partner to End Urban HIV, TB, HCV Epidemics

UN-Habitat logo

 

IAPAC

 

 

 

IAPAC, UN-Habitat Partner to End Urban HIV, TB, HCV Epidemics

Memorandum of Understanding Signed at 10th World Urban Forum

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (February 12, 2020) – The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) and the United Nations Programme on Human Settlements (UN-Habitat) announced a new partnership today to strengthen the efforts of Fast-Track Cities to end their urban HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis epidemics within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable). Today’s announcement coincided with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between IAPAC and UN-Habitat at the 10th World Urban Forum.

“Addressing the need for people to live in cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable is essential to ending the HIV, TB, and viral epidemics.” said Dr. José M. Zuniga, IAPAC President/CEO, who signed the MoU today alongside Mr. Victor Kisob, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat. “Through this partnership with UN-Habitat we embark on a ‘Decade of Action’ to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality within the context of the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities and the New Urban Agenda.”

By signing the MoU, IAPAC and UN-Habitat agree to engage in joint advocacy and best practice-sharing among Fast-Track Cities regarding the health-related priorities in the New Urban Agenda, which was adopted at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016, and endorsed by the UN General Assembly that same year. The New Urban Agenda outlines global principles, policies, and standards required to achieve sustainable urban development. The IAPAC and UN-Habitat partnership will also prioritize the collection and dissemination of programmatic and other data to enhance public health interventions.

“Thriving cities must be healthy cities and this collaboration with IAPAC brings on board experts from the two agencies to address a core issue of getting cities on that last mile towards ending their HIV epidemics. Cities must have the knowledge, technology, data, and funding that can ensure that no one and no community is left behind,” said Mr. Victor Kisob.

The 10th World Urban Forum is convened by UN-Habitat to promote sustainable urban development. This year’s forum theme is “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation.”

About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care

With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. 

About UN-Habitat

UN-Habitat is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future.  Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable and inclusive human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

About Fast-Track Cities

Fast-Track Cities is a network of more than 300 cities and municipalities striving to their end urban HIV, TB, and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030. 

Fast-Track Cities Launches “Decade of Action” Against HIV, TB, and HCV, at 10th World Urban Forum​ ​

Fast-Track Cities Launches “Decade of Action” Against HIV, TB, and HCV, at 10th World Urban Forum​
February 11, 2020 ​

A high-level IAPAC delegation represented the Fast-Track Cities network at the 10th World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which was convened by the United Nations Programme on Human Settlements (UN-Habitat). IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga spoke before a panel discussion on February 11, 2020, about the importance of leveraging reliable data in responding to HIV and other urban epidemics.

#WUF10

Dr. Zuniga touted the power of data to guide Fast-Track Cities on a trajectory toward ending their urban HIV epidemics by chronicling the experiences of Fast-Track Cities such as Bangkok, Kyiv, and Nairobi. Despite the unique set of factors facing communities in each of these urban areas, Dr. Zuniga noted how the development and dissemination of reliable data has helped clinicians, policymakers, and advocates for people living with HIV to determine how to optimize the allocation of resources and tailor public interventions that reflect local needs. He added that we must continue to address stigma as a public health threat and educate the public about the science of HIV treatment and prevention.

This year’s 10th World Urban Forum coincides with the beginning of a “Decade of Action” to achieve critical targets contained within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Fast-Track Cities initiative recently marked five years since its launch on World AIDS Day 2014. ​

UN-Habitat MOU

IAPAC and UN-Habitat announced a new partnership at the forum, with Dr. Zuniga and UN-Habitat Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Victor Kisob, signing a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize the new agreement. The two organizations will collaborate to enhance the efforts of over 300 Fast-Track Cities to end local epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis within the context of Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG 11), which seeks to improve resiliency and sustainability in urban communities.​

“Addressing the need for people to live in cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable is essential to ending the HIV, TB, and viral epidemics.” said Dr. Zuniga. “Through this partnership with UN-Habitat we embark on a ‘Decade of Action’ to make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality within the context of the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities and the New Urban Agenda.”​

“Thriving cities must be healthy cities and this collaboration with IAPAC brings on board experts from the two agencies to address a core issue of getting cities on that last mile towards ending their HIV epidemics. Cities must have the knowledge, technology, data, and funding that can ensure that no one and no community is left behind,” said Mr. Kisob.

IAPAC showcased the new documentary, “Fast-Track Cities: Making Progress, Saving Lives” at the forum’s Urban Cinema. The film explores the stories of people from six Fast-Track Cities across five continents. The full film is available on YouTube:

Lisbon to Host Fast-Track Cities 2020 Conference

Lisboa

 

 

 

 

Lisbon to Host Fast-Track Cities 2020 Conference

Conference’s High-Level Panel to Feature Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Policy

LISBON, Portugal (January 17, 2020) – The Camara Municipal de Lisboa and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) hosted a press announcement and a community-led panel discussion today about the need for Fast-Track Cities to pursue evidence-based approaches to drug policy to curb new HIV infections while respecting the human rights of people who use drugs.

The 2019 UNAIDS Drugs Report acknowledged that while new HIV infections among adults worldwide declined by 14% between 2011 and 2017, there has been no decrease in the annual number of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs. Yet, between 2008 and 2017, there was a 93% decrease in HIV cases among people who inject drugs in Portugal, according to the Portuguese National AIDS Agency, a reduction to which new harm reduction policies contributed.

The announcement and panel discussion took place during a City Hall event where Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina announced his city would play host later this year to local stakeholders from more than 300 cities and municipalities accelerating the end of their urban HIV, tuberculosis (TB), and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030. The Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference, taking place September 7-10, 2020, is expected to convene more than 1,000 delegates from 300+ current and numerous prospective Fast-Track Cities in every region of the world.

In announcing the Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference, Mayor Medina also said the focus of the conference’s high-level panel will be on drug policies and harm reduction. The high-level panel will consist of Mayors and other elected officials, as well as public health leaders. The focus of the Fast-Track Cities 2019 conference’s high-level panel in London was on health inequalities, with Mayor Sadiq Khan chairing the panel. Lisbon’s Mayor Medina will do likewise at the Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference.

“Drug policies need to be focused on reducing harm among people who use drugs, instead of furthering the stigma associated with the criminalization of drug use. The expansion of harm reduction services in Lisbon and in Portugal has made a significant impact in reducing the numbers of new HIV cases in people who inject drugs,” said Mayor Medina. “We are proud to highlight Lisbon’s experience in transforming public health at the Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference.”

In his welcome remarks at today’s event, IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga welcomed Mayor Medina’s wish to focus attention on rights-based drug policies and harm reduction interventions for people who use drugs, adding that it is at the city and municipal levels where the most efficient collaboration takes place between civic authorities, health services, and communities of people who use drugs.

“Where sound drug policies and harm reduction services are in place, such as in Portugal, we have seen significant decreases in HIV infections among people who inject drugs and their partners,” said IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga. “Harm reduction shows its best results when it is planned at municipal and national levels and where local stakeholders have a degree of autonomy in terms of organizing services that best serve the needs of their key populations,” Dr. Zuniga explained.

A Portugal-focused panel discussion capped off today’s Fast-Track Cities event, covering issues ranging from budgeting for harm reduction to engaging communities of people who use drugs. The panelists included Isabel Aldir, Director of Portugal’s National Program for HIV/ AIDS and Viral Hepatitis; Luís Mendão, President of the Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos (GAT); Andreia Pinto Ferreira, General Director of Ser+; Elsa Belo, Technical Director, Programa de Substituição em Baixo Limiar de Exigência at Ares do Pinhal; and João Goulão, General Director of the Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) at the Portuguese Ministry of Health.

The Fast-Track Cities 2020 conference is organized by IAPAC, UNAIDS, and other partners. For more information, please visit: https://www.iapac.org/conferences/fast-track-cities-2019/fast-track-cities-2020/

Fast-Track Cities Welcomes New Communities on World AIDS Day 2019

Fast-Track Cities Welcomes New Communities on World AIDS Day 2019

The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) welcomed several new cities and municipalities to the Fast-Track Cities network to commemorate World AIDS Day 2019. The initiative is marking its fifth anniversary since the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities was originally signed by 26 municipalities on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris. Since then the Fast-Track Cities network has grown to more than 300 municipalities that are working in solidarity to end urban HIV, tuberculosis, and viral hepatitis epidemics by 2030.

North America

IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga spoke at a signing ceremony on World AIDS Day 2019 in which both the City of St. Louis and Saint Louis County joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said the initiative “truly furthers the overall vision of the city’s health department, which is to create an equitable city achieving optimal health for all.”

St. Louis
St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis joined Fast-Track Cities on December 1, 2019.

 

“We proudly welcome the City and County of St. Louis to the Fast-Track Cities initiative on the occasion of World AIDS Day 2019,” said Dr. Zuniga. “St. Louis will benefit from the collective best practices and lessons learned from a network of more than 300 Fast-Track Cities and other municipalities that are working in solidarity to end urban HIV epidemics by 2030. As important, the Fast-Track Cities network’s emphasis on community-led HIV responses aligns well with the US federal government’s prioritization of 48 counties, two territories, and seven states, including Missouri.”

 

 

IAPAC’s Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Chris Duncombe delivered remarks at a “Fast-Track Nevada” signing ceremony in Las Vegas also on World AIDS Day 2019 to welcome Clark County, Nevada, and the cities of Boulder, Henderson, and Las Vegas to the Fast-Track Cities initiative. By reaching a critical mass of cities across the state, Nevada was recognized as the first “Fast-Track State” in the United States. Clark County, Nevada, is one of the 48 counties that are being targeted by the Trump administration’s nationwide plan to end the HIV epidemic.

“The Fast-Track Nevada initiative represents the dedication and support of our local, state, federal, and global partners who are committed to providing comprehensive resources in our community and stopping the epidemic,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, Acting Chief Health Officer, Southern Nevada Health District.

Fast-Track Nevada
Las Vegas and several other cities in Nevada joined Fast-Track Cities on December 1, 2019.

 

Texas became America’s second “Fast-Track State” on December 4, 2019, as civic leaders, health officials, and community advocates gathered to add Harris County and the City of Houston to the Fast-Track Cities network. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed the Paris Declaration alongside IAPAC’s President/CEO, Dr. Zuniga. The ceremony coincided with the final day of the Biomedical HIV Prevention Summit in Houston.

“Ending HIV is not only a lifesaving endeavor, it is also an economically sound approach that saves millions of dollars in health care costs,” said Mayor Turner. “I’m proud to add Houston as a Fast Track City, complementing the quality work of the Houston Health Department in ending the HIV epidemic.”

“Today, we are proudly reaffirming our commitment to helping those living with HIV/AIDS and to ending the epidemic,” said Judge Hidalgo. “We will continue to provide the best quality care for our HIV/AIDS community and work to stop new transmissions from occurring, but we know there is so much more to be done.”

Houston and Harris County, Texas, joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on December 4, 2019.

 

Dallas (Dallas County), Austin (Travis County), and San Antonio (Bexar County), Texas are also members of the Fast-Track Cities network. The four Texas counties are among the 48 counties that are being targeted in the federal government’s plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.

 

Europe

Palermo became Italy’s third Fast-Track City on November 24, 2019, with the signature of Mayor Leoluca Orlando. Upon signing the Paris Declaration, Mayor Orland emphasized that “in Palermo we want to make everyone visible, because those who are invisible have no rights.” The event was attended by Rosaria Iardino, an Italian journalist and advocate for people living with HIV who is President of Fondazione The Bridge and coordinates the work of Fast-Track Cities in Milan. IAPAC was represented by Dr. Antonella d’Arminio Monforte who is a professor at the University of Milan.

Palermo
Palermo joined Fast-Track Cities on November 24, 2019

 

The City of Florence, Italy, joined the Fast-Track Cities network on November 30, 2019. Mayor Dario Nardella emphasized the importance of HIV prevention as he signed the Paris Declaration. IAPAC was represented by our Vice President for Strategic Partnerships Bertrand Audoin.

Firenze HIV AIDS
Florence joined Fast-Track Cities on November 30, 2019

 

Several municipalities have recently joined Fast-Track Cities from the United Kingdom. The health minister for Wales, Vaughan Gething, attended a ceremony alongside IAPAC’s Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Mr. Audoin and other local officials and advocates to welcome Cardiff to the Fast-Track Cities network on November 28, 2019.

Cardiff
Cardiff joined the Fast-Track Cities network on November 28, 2019.

 

The City of Bristol, England joined the initiative two days later on November 30, 2019.

“By adopting the Fast Track Cities Initiative’s principles in Bristol and pioneering a ‘One City’ approach to tackle health inequalities, I am confident that we can rise to this challenge and end new HIV infections by 2030,” said Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

Bristol (UK)
Bristol joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on November 30, 2019.

 

Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries signed the Paris Declaration on November 25, 2019, joining six other Fast-Track Cities in France that are working together to reverse their local HIV epidemics. The ceremony coincided with a public awareness campaign to promote HIV testing.

Strasbourg
Strasbourg joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on November 25, 2019.

 

Our Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Mr. Audoin represented IAPAC at a signing ceremony in Prague, Czech Republic, on December 5, 2019, that was also attended by Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and health councilor Milena John. The incidence of HIV infections has been rising in the Czech Republic in recent years. Since monitoring began in 1985, roughly one out of two new infections has occurred in the capital city of Prague.

“I am glad that Prague will join other world capitals in the fight against AIDS. With Fast-Track Cities, we can say: together we are stronger, together we are louder, together we can change the world. The health of our citizens is a priority for us and we must not underestimate it,” said Mayor Hřib.

Prague
Prague joined Fast-Track Cities on December 5, 2019

 

The cities of Podgorica, Bijelo Poljé, and Bar, Montenegro joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on December 2, 2019. Pordgorica Mayor Ivan Vuković signed the Paris Declaration alongside Dušan Raičević, the Mayor of Bar, and Petar Smolović, the Mayor of Bijelo Poljé. Mayor Vuković said that stigma remains a significant challenge in Montenegro.

“We have decided not to turn a blind eye to the problem, but to tackle it, and in this way give an institutional response in accordance with what the goals and principles of action are at the global level,” said Vuković, who also pledged to prioritize HIV prevention and education for young people.

Montenegro
Three municipalities joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative from Montenegro on December 2, 2019.

 

Asia

The cities of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Battambang, Cambodia joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on December 4, 2019, along with the province of Banteay Meanchey. According to a new report by UNAIDS, there were 880 new HIV infections in Cambodia in 2018, reflecting a 95% decrease from 16,500 new infections at the peak of the local epidemic in 1997.

Cambodia
Four Cambodian municipalities joined the Fast-Track Cities initiative on December 4, 2019.

 

 

 

NYC and Geneva Surpass UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV Targets

NYC and Geneva Surpass UNAIDS 90-90-90 HIV Targets
Fast-Track Cities Release New HIV Testing and Treatment Data

Washington, DC, USA (December 2, 2019) – Health officials in New York City, NY, USA, and the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, announced today that these two cities have surpassed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets. The Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities calls for attaining and surpassing the targets, which translate into 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) knowing their status, 90% of PLHIV who know their status accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90% of PLHIV on ART achieving viral suppression.

New York City, which became a Fast-Track City in 2016, is the first Fast-Track City in the United States to surpass the 90-90-90 targets by attaining 93-90-92. By attaining 90-96-93, the Canton of Geneva becomes the fifth European municipality to reach this important milestone, joining the cities of Amsterdam, Netherlands; Brighton, UK; London, UK; and Manchester, UK. The Canton of Geneva was among the 26 initial cities and municipalities to join the Fast-Track Cities network in 2014.

“The attainment of these global programmatic targets by New York City and the Canton of Geneva marks a momentous milestone on any Fast-Track City’s journey towards ending its HIV epidemic,” said IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga. “We congratulate the political and public health leaders, clinicians and services providers, and community members who have made these achievements possible. We also encourage their ongoing efforts to get to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma by 2030.”

As a core partner of the Fast-Track Cities initiative, IAPAC today launched new interactive data dashboards made possible through support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and ViiV Healthcare. The dashboards illustrate baseline 90-90-90 data for eight Fast-Track Cities:

Fast-Track City (2018 data) Know Status On ART Virally Suppressed
Columbia, SC, USA 84% N/A* 85%
Fulton County (Atlanta), GA, USA 84% 87% 82%
Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL, USA 84% 76% 83%
Kampala, Uganda 59% 98% 93%
Lagos, Nigeria 66% 99% 84%
Washington, DC, USA 87% 78% 85%
Windhoek, Namibia 85% 89% 73%
Yaoundé, Cameroon 74% 87% N/A*

*N/A:  Data are not currently generated

“Fast-Track Cities can only accelerate their HIV responses to achieve the 90-90-90 targets if they know their local epidemics – notably the gaps across the HIV care continuum,” said Dr. Zuniga. “That is why data-driven, equity-based HIV responses are at the heart of ending urban HIV epidemics by 2030, and a priority for technical assistance to Fast-Track Cities.”

These eight municipalities whose data dashboards were launched today are among a total of 42 Fast-Track Cities that are reporting new or updated 90-90-90 data this year. Several of these cities and municipalities have reported significant progress since the year they reported their baseline data, including:

  • Bangkok, Thailand, which went from 79-57-79 (2016) to 92-78-76 (2018);
  • Kyiv, Ukraine, which went from 51-44-85 (2015) to 73-73-96 (2018); and
  • Nairobi County, Kenya, which went from 77-96-55 (2016) to 79-99-92 (2018).

“The progress made in Bangkok, Kyiv, and Nairobi County is a testament to prioritizing programs and resources towards leaving no woman, man, or child behind, which includes addressing health inequalities,” said Dr. Zuniga. “Kyiv’s progress, for example, demonstrates that even in a city resisting strong epidemiological headwinds faced by other cities in Eastern Europe, our calculus for success – political commitment, public health innovation, and the meaningful engagement of affected communities – is working.”

Following is a full list of cities and municipalities that have reported new or updated 90-90-90 data during 2019:

NORTH AMERICA

Atlanta (Fulton County), GA, USA (2018):  84-87-82
Austin, TX, USA (2016):  100-80-72
Columbia, SC, USA (2018):  84-N/A*-75
Denver, CO, USA (2018):  87-N/A*-90
Birmingham (Jefferson County), AL, USA (2018):  84-76-83
Minneapolis, MN, USA (2017):  88-72-88
New Orleans, LA, USA (2018):  87-75-89
New York City, NY, USA (2018):  93-90-92
Phoenix, AZ, USA (2017):  87-58-99
Providence, RI, USA (2017):  91-79-91
San Antonio (Bexar County), TX, USA (2018):  81-72-87
San Francisco, CA, USA (2017):  94-79-94
Washington, DC, USA (2018):  87-78-85

LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN

Kingston/St. Andrew, Jamaica (2018):  93-53-66
Salvador de Bahia, Brazil (2017):  58-78-91
São Paulo, Brazil (2018):  87-72-95

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2018):  77-98-N/A*
eThekwini, South Africa (2018):  91-77-93
Johannesburg, South Africa (April-June 2019):  86-65-85
Kampala, Uganda (2018):  59-98-93
Kigali, Rwanda (2018):  91-94-89
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018):  74-56-54
Lagos, Nigeria (2018):  66-99-84
Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (2018):  65-92-23
Nairobi County, Kenya (2018):  79-99-92
Windhoek, Namibia (2018):  85-89-73
Yaoundé, Cameroon (2018):  74-87-N/A*

ASIA-PACIFIC

Almaty, Kazakhstan (2018):  84-80-70
Bangkok, Thailand (2018):  92-78-76
Taipei, Taiwan (2018):  80-92-96
Quezon City, Philippines (2018):  76-66-17

WESTERN, CENTRAL, EASTERN EUROPE

Amsterdam, Netherlands (2018):  95-94-96
Berlin, Germany (2018):  89-93-95
Brighton, UK (2017):  93-99-99
Canton of Geneva, Switzerland (2017):  90-96-93
Kyiv, Ukraine (2018):  73-73-96
London, UK (2018):  95-98-97
Manchester, UK (2017):  91-97-94
Milan, Italy (2017):  N/A*-96-90
Odesa, Ukraine (2018):  70-56-92
Paris, France (2018):  88-96-94
Seville, Spain (2018):  85-98-95

*N/A:  Data are not currently generated

Fast-Track Cities data are maintained and updated online at http://fast-trackcities.org.

About Fast-Track Cities

Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership between almost 300 cities and municipalities, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the City of Paris. The partnership’s aim is to end urban HIV epidemics by getting to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV-related stigma. The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris.

About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC)

With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. Please visit www.iapac.org for more information about IAPAC’s activities.

IAPAC Launches ViiV Healthcare-Funded FTC Data Dashboards

IAPAC Launches ViiV Healthcare-Funded FTC Data Dashboards

‘Data-Informed, Equity-Based HIV Responses are at the Heart of Ending Urban HIV Epidemics’

Washington, DC, USA (December 1, 2019) – The International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) today launched data dashboards visualizing baseline data for three Fast-Track Cities that are striving to attain and surpass the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets. Among the US municipalities whose ViiV Healthcare-funded dashboards were launched today are Columbia, SC; Fulton County (Atlanta), GA; and Washington, DC.

The 90-90-90 targets translate into 90% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) knowing their status, 90% of PLHIV who know their status accessing antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90% of PLHIV on ART achieving viral suppression. The Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities calls for attaining and surpassing the 90-90-90 targets, as well as addressing HIV-related stigma, on a trajectory towards getting to zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma.

Fast-Track City (2018 data) Know Status On ART Virally Suppressed
Columbia, SC (USA) 84% N/A* 90%
Fulton County (Atlanta), GA (USA) 84% 87% 82%
Washington, DC (USA) 87% 78% 85%

*N/A: Data are not currently generated

“Fast-Track Cities can only accelerate their HIV responses to achieve the 90-90-90 targets if they know their local epidemics – notably the gaps,” said IAPAC President/CEO Dr. José M. Zuniga. “That is why data-driven, equity-based HIV responses are at the heart of ending urban HIV epidemics by 2030.”

In addition to these three Fast-Track Cities, several more cities and municipalities are reporting new or updated 90-90-90 data on World AIDS Day 2019. These data are available at http://fast-trackcities.org.

About Fast-Track Cities

Fast-Track Cities is a global partnership between almost 300 cities and municipalities, the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the City of Paris that are collaborating to reach zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero HIV-related stigma. The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris.

About the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC)

With more than 30,000 members globally, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.