Edinburgh moved a step closer to its goal of ending new HIV infections in the Capital by 2030 with the inaugural meeting of a panel of experts tasked with working towards this aim.
Last November, the City of Edinburgh Council joined hundreds of cities all over the world as a member of the Fast Track Cities initiative, which is committed to ending the global HIV epidemic by 2030. A new Fast-Track Cities Leadership Group (FTCI-LG) met for the first time this week, chaired by Depute Leader Cllr Cammy Day.
The group brings together expertise from across Edinburgh, including those involved in and affected by the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support of people living with and at risk of HIV in Edinburgh. This will deliver an inclusive and transparent whole-city approach to the group’s aims.
The group will also work towards eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination, ending all preventable deaths from HIV-related causes as well as improving the health, quality of life and wellbeing of people living with HIV across the Capital. In addition to this it will also aim to sustain and exceed the UNAIDS’s 90:90:90 HIV targets (90 per cent of people living with HIV knowing their status, 90 per cent of people with diagnosed HIV on treatment, 90 per cent of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads).
Cllr Day said: “I was delighted to chair today’s meeting to take forward this vital work for the Capital. We’ll obviously be working with all relevant partner organisations across the city and mindful of existing policies but I’m confident that if we pool our resources and knowledge the group will make a real difference to the lives of those affected by HIV in Edinburgh. At our inaugural meeting we all agreed to commit to a joined-up partnership and development of a strategic work plan.”
Judith Proctor, Chief Officer, the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “I’m delighted that the Partnership and the Council are working with others across the city to take forward this important work following the Council signing the Paris declaration in November last year. This commits us to work with other cities to reduce HIV-related stigma to zero. Some work on our Strategic Plan has been delayed by the Covid pandemic but we recognise that all the organisations supporting people with HIV have adapted and have been supporting people throughout the pandemic and have been incredibly flexible and innovative in doing so. We know there’s a lot of learning we can take from this as we develop our Plan.”
Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive of HIV Scotland, said: “Edinburgh is part of a global network of over 300 cities committed to ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, and it was great to kickstart our work to reach zero HIV transmission, zero HIV-related deaths and zero HIV-stigma in Edinburgh. Everyone in Edinburgh can play their part by learning about the modern day realities of HIV and help us stamp out stigma and prejudice. Today, someone living with HIV can live a long, healthy and happy life with effective medication that can work so well that people can’t pass the virus on to their sexual partners.”
Members of the Group
• The City of Edinburgh Council
• HIV Scotland
• Waverley Care
• Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership
• NHS Lothian
• Lothian Patients Forum
• Positive Help
The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a global partnership between cities and municipalities around the world and four core partners – 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.