Perth and Kinross Council signs up to eradicate HIV by end of decade

The council has registered to become a Fast-Track City, signalling its intent to eliminate HIV and the stigma around the disease.

Perth and Kinross Council has signed up to help end the HIV epidemic by the end of the decade.

The local authority has pledged its commitment to eradicate the disease by 2030 by signing the Paris Declaration.

There are almost 500 locations around the world that have registered to become a Fast-Track City, which signals intent to cut rates of HIV infection and tackle the stigma surrounding the virus.

The declaration was signed by Provost Xander McDade and independent councillor Colin Stewart, as well representatives from Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV, Hepatitis C and sexual health charity.

The council agreed to sign the declaration when it met in November after agreeing a motion by equalities lead councillor Peter Barrett, seconded by councillor Stewart, vice-chair of Perth and Kinross Integration Joint Board.

Fast-Track Cities Scotland allows cities across the country to work together to share best practice and learn from one another through partnership working.

Provost McDade said: “HIV used to be seen as a terminal illness, but treatments have improved so that someone diagnosed today can live a normal, healthy life.

“Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding HIV can stop some people getting tested and enjoying life the way they should.

“By challenging the stigma around HIV, we can get more people tested and, together, eliminate HIV in Perth & Kinross altogether.”

Grant Sugden, chief executive of Waverley Care, said: “We are delighted that Perth has signed up to become a Fast-Track City.

“We know that Scotland’s cities must work together to reach zero new HIV transmissions by 2030, and having Perth sign up to crucial HIV commitments brings us closer to that goal.

“The initiative allows us to work with the council, NHS and other stakeholders to reach shared goals for HIV transmission elimination. We look forward to working collaboratively to eliminate HIV transmission and end HIV-related stigma in Scotland.”

José M. Zuniga, president and chief executive officer of International Association of Providers of AIDS Care, said: “As Perth signs up to the Fast-Track Cities network, we commit to work shoulder-to-shoulder to achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 and other related targets.

“We also applaud the city’s commitment to place people at the centre of the HIV response, including by prioritising the goal of getting to zero HIV-related stigma and discrimination.”

Anyone can book a HIV test online here.

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