London becomes Fast-Track Cities member to tackle HIV
London has become a member of the global Fast-Track Cities initiative to try to reduce the number of people being infected with the HIV virus.
The scheme aims to end new infections of HIV by 2030 and includes places across Africa, Europe and the Americas.
London has already made considerable strides towards tackling HIV, reaching the UN's 90:90:90 target for the first time in 2016. The initiative looks to have 90 per cent of those living with HIV infection diagnosed, 90 per cent of those diagnosed getting treatment and 90 per cent of people receiving this support being virally suppressed.
The UK capital surpassed these benchmarks - with Amsterdam and Melbourne the only others to have done so - and continues to make significant progress towards battling the life-changing virus.
For many, the biggest issue, as well as preventing people from becoming infected and ensuring those who already have HIV get the treatment necessary, is removing the stigma that is still associated with the condition.
Signing the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the AIDS Epidemic, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, NHS England and Public Health England pledged to eliminate discrimination for people diagnosed with HIV.
Mr Khan said there has been a dramatic decline in the numbers of new HIV diagnoses and, for the first time in decades, ending new HIV infections in the capital is a "real possibility". However, he added that they couldn't become complacent as tackling the problem is a complex issue.
“By signing London up as a Fast-Track City, we are taking on the challenge to end new HIV infections in the capital by 2030. We must be ambitious, and I am confident that by working together we can achieve this goal," he explained.
“As well as putting an end to new infections, I am clear that HIV-related stigma and discrimination must end too. Improving the quality of life and wellbeing of those living with HIV in London is a priority for me, which is why I’m proud to sign this commitment today.”