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Fast Tracking Scotland to #ZeroHIV

Hot on the heels of World AIDS Day, Scotland's cities are leading the charge to get us to zero new HIV infections by 2030.

Ahead of World AIDS Day on 1 December, the Scottish Government threw its support behind a commitment to make Scotland one of the first countries in the world to get to zero new HIV transmissions.

This week, we're participating in the Fast-Tracking Scotland Summit, brining together charities, health boards and local authorities to look at the key role our cities will play in delivering this ambition.

The summit, organised by our friends at HIV Scotland, is part of the global Fast Track Cities initiative, which is encouraging cities around the world to commit to action on HIV.

Four of Scotland's seven cities - EdinburghGlasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee. - have already signed up.

Read on to find out more...

What is Fast Track Cities?

Fast Track Cities is a partnership involving hundreds of cities around the world.

It was launched in Paris in 2014 to encourage cities to take a leading role in the response to HIV. Cities signing up to the initiative commit to action on HIV testing and treatment, while challenging stigma.

The campaign builds upon the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets with the ultimate aim of getting to zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero stigma.

What are the 90-90-90 targets?

90-90-90 refers to a series of global targets, set by UNAIDS. in 2014 for HIV diagnosis and treatment.

The three 90s refer to ensuring that:

  • 90% of people living with HIV have been diagnosed
  • 90% of those diagnosed are on treatment
  • 90% of those on treatment have an undetectable viral load

When these targets were set, tha ambition was to achieve them globally by 2020. At the moment, we are still some way short. UNAIDS estimate that there are 38 million people worldwide who are living with HIV and that 81% of them are diagnosed. Of those diagnosed, only two out of three are receiving treatment and 59% of those on treatment have an undetectable viral load..

How is Scotland doing?

As a developed nation, Scotland is in a fortunate position and we’ve made some really good progress.

Scotland first achieved the 90:90:90 targets in late 2018, and at the moment we have 92% diagnosed, 98% of them accessing treatment, and 94% of them with an undetectable viral load.

Meeting these targets has been a great achievement but there’s still lots to do.

For example, we are still in the midst of an ongoing HIV outbreak in Glasgow, affecting particularly vulnerable people in the city centre. Our HIV Street Support Team is playing a key role in reaching out to people, offering information, support and access to HIV testing, alongside support to access services around homelessness and addiction.

More generally, we need to continue reaching out to the 8% of people living with HIV who have not been diagnosed, encouraging them to get tested. The later people are diagnosed, the more likely they are to experience health issues and also to unknowingly pass HIV on to others.

Once people know their status, they can access specialist services and treatment that can help them become undetectable. This a hugely important as a person living with HIV, on treatment and with an undetectable viral load cannot pass HIV on to sexual partners.

The Fast Track Cities initiative is a great way to get things moving forward. For example, the Leadership Group in Edinburgh brings together decision makers that it would otherwise be difficult to get in the same room at the same time and to get commitment for action.

We'll be continuing to support our Fast Track Cities as we work to make Scotland one of the first countries in the world to achieve Zero HIV transmissions, deaths and stima.

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