Government ministers and civic leaders from six cities, London, Atlanta, Kiev, Nairobi, Delhi and Maputo, have come together for the AIDSfree Cities Global Forum, hosted by UK Secretary of State for Health the Rt Hon Matt Hancock and the Secretary of State for International Development the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt, alongside the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
The Forum, which features keynote remarks from both Secretaries of State, city governing leaders and other HIV thought leaders, marks a major drive forward from global leaders and policymakers in the worldwide commitment to combatting the HIV epidemic.
Held at the Conduit in Mayfair, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko and Head of Health for Greater London Authority Vicky Hobart, alongside representatives for Kiev and Maputo, re-affirmed their city’s commitment to achieving the ’90-90-90 targets’, which were developed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV (UNAIDS) as a means of closing testing and treatment gaps.
The commitment declares each city’s intent to help 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, get 90% of HIV-diagnosed people on antiretroviral treatment and have 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads. Combined with efforts to eliminate HIV-related stigma, the 90-90-90 targets are part of the worldwide endeavour to end AIDS by 2030 and ensure all those living with HIV have full lives.
“We’ve come so far in this journey and we have the medical tools we need to help every single person at risk of or living with HIV live a normal life”
Sir Elton John, founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation said: “I’m thrilled that city leaders and health ministers from around the world are coming together to drive forward the global fight to end AIDS. We’ve come so far in this journey and we have the medical tools we need to help every single person at risk of or living with HIV live a normal life. What we need now is collaboration across cities to have long-lasting impact and to make sure no one, wherever they may be, is left behind. This Forum is an example of exactly that, so thank you to everyone involved.”
As well as marking a major milestone in the HIV landscape, both in the UK and across the world, the Forum also commemorates the conclusion of the AIDSfree appeal – a successful fundraising campaign from the Elton John AIDS Foundation, in partnership with ESI Media (comprising The Independent, Evening Standard and London Live), with donations being matched by UK Aid Match.
“We’ve already achieved the 90-90-90 target but we must go further and lead by example”
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock, UK Secretary of State for Health, who yesterday announced a £1.5 million donation from the Department of Health and Social Care towards the AIDSfree appeal, said: “I feel proud that Britain has made such incredible progress on defeating AIDS. We’ve already achieved the 90-90-90 target but we must go further and lead by example. So today we’re setting a new goal: eradicating HIV transmission in England by 2030. No new infections within the next decade. Becoming one of the first countries to reach the UN zero infections target by 2030.
“Part of our approach is our HIV Innovation Fund, which will grant £600,000 to 13 local innovative initiatives to reduce the risk of people contracting or passing on HIV, reduce stigma and reach hard-to-reach communities. Another part will be to review how we commission sexual health services, to make sure they are available to all, from the ultra-local to the truly global.”
“We passionately believe we can create an AIDS-free future for the whole world”
The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt, UK Secretary of State for International Development added: “AIDS is still the biggest killer of women of reproductive age around the world, and every week about 7,000 young women are infected with HIV. UK Aid Match means that every time the British public donate to the AIDSfree appeal, we match their donations pound for pound and their generosity goes twice as far.
“This UK aid money is aimed at helping some of the most vulnerable young people living in Nairobi and Maputo. It will improve access to HIV and AIDS testing and treatment directly. We passionately believe we can create an AIDS-free future for the whole world.”
The Elton John AIDS Foundation’s work in Nairobi received a major boost, announced at the Forum by Lelio Marmora, Executive Director of Unitaid. The global health initiative confirmed a £1.5 million contribution to the Foundation’s upcoming MenStar campaign, which seeks to increase HIV testing among young men in Kenya.