Monday, June 27, 2022
Cities play a key role in ending the AIDS epidemic and have been at the forefront of the HIV response, showing leadership and strong political commitment since the early years of the epidemic.
Cities account for large proportions of national HIV burdens. In most countries, HIV prevalence is higher in urban compared to rural settings and urban dynamics often exacerbate the risk and vulnerability to acquiring HIV. It is estimated that about one quarter of all people living with HIV are residing in about 200 cities.
However, cities have a comparative advantage and offer important opportunities for effective action to end AIDS. As centres of economic growth and development, cities can drive innovation, develop locally appropriate strategies and use their ordinances and by-laws to affect positive change.
In recognition of the importance of cities in accelerating the HIV response, the Fast-Track Cities Initiative was launched in 2014 by its core partners, UNAIDS, UN–Habitat, the city of Paris, and the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), together with key cities across the world, with a call on cities to fast-track the HIV response towards ending AIDS by 2030. More than 380 cities have since joined the Initiative by signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track cities: ending the AIDS Epidemic. By signing the Declaration, mayors commit to a set of targets to address the significant disparities in access to HIV services, social justice, economic opportunities and pledge to make their cities more equitable for all its citizens.
The new Global AIDS Strategy for 2021–2026 reinforces the centrality of cities in ending AIDS, and in reducing inequalities and social exclusion, and calls for the inclusion of urban settings as a cross-cutting issue in all areas of the Strategy.
The proposed event will provide an opportunity for key actors of the Fast-Track Cities Initiative to share experiences and to showcase innovation and good practices in accelerating local HIV responses, and in reducing inequalities and social exclusion. Elected officials from geographically diverse Fast-Track Cities will share progress that have been made in their cities and will reiterate their commitment to accelerate the response. City implementers will share good practices and lessons learned from innovative programmes that have been implemented and that can be replicated in other cities. Civil society, including networks of key and vulnerable populations, will report on their involvement in the design and implementation of programmes and the impact on their communities.
The event will also provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges including the disruptions in access to and utilization of HIV and other health and social services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the solutions designed by cities to mitigate the impact on the HIV response.
- Share experiences, innovation and good practices from cities in accelerating the HIV response towards ending AIDS.
- Increase awareness around the Fast-Track Cities Initiative and generate interests from cities to join the Initiative.
- Call on cities to exercise public health leadership to achieve the 2025 HIV targets, to close programmatic gaps, to end inequalities and social exclusion, and to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
- Learn from “leadership” cities that have achieved significant results by highlighting key elements of successful and innovative city approaches, and by showing how cities are using the AIDS response as a pathfinder to address medical, social, and other challenges.