A global forum to be held in London will play a key role in tackling the HIV and Aids epidemic across the world, a leading expert said on Wednesday.
Ministers and mayors from around the globe are arriving in the capital this month with one goal in mind – creating an Aids-free future.
Following The Independent‘s AIDSfree appeal in conjunction with the Elton John AIDS Foundation, key figures from six cities, including London, will be joined by medical experts to begin discussions and form a plan of action on tackling HIV together.
One of the attendees will be José Zuniga, president and CEO of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care.
He said: “This is a critical time and progress is not where it should be. The forum is important because it will allow us to highlight some of the successes achieved in some of the six cities, but also we need to learn from those cities where progress has been slow.”
Globally, 37 million people are living with HIV and this figure is rising by 1.8 million annually. In the UK, 15 people are infected every day.
The event on 30 January will focus on the UN’s 90-90-90 targets, which aim to inform at least 90 per cent of people with HIV of their status, get 90 per cent of this group on treatment and achieve an “undetectable viral load” in 90 per cent of them, meaning virus levels in the blood are so low it cannot be passed on. The deadline is 2020.
London has reached these goals but the five other cities in our campaign have not: Delhi in India, Nairobi in Kenya, Maputo in Mozambique, Kiev in Ukraine, and Atlanta in the US.
The ideas, plans and proposals from the one-day AIDSfree Cities Global Forum will feed into the Fast-Track Cities Global Summit that is due to be held in London in September.
The Fast-Track Cities initiative was launched in 2014 in Paris, and marked the adoption of the UN goals.
Dr Zuniga added: “The forum gives us a chance to re-energise all of our allies because we have the tools to beat this, but we all need to be on board.”
The event, sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, will be held at The Conduit, Mayfair.
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