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Fast-Track Cities London signs up to U=U international consensus statement to help end HIV stigma in the capital

9th September 2019

Fast-Track Cities London joins the cities of Paris, Toronto and New Orleans, together with 100s of non-governmental organisations, to endorse the U=U (Undetectable = Untransmissible) global movement to help end the stigma around HIV.

We want Londoners to know the clear and simple message that a person on effective treatment, with undetectable levels of HIV virus in their blood, cannot pass on HIV.

Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Public Health for the London Borough of Southwark and Co-Chair of Fast-Track Cities London, says: “HIV stigma remains a persistent barrier to our efforts to end HIV transmission. Wherever HIV stigma exists in our relationships, it reduces the quality of care, limits social and psychological support, and negatively impacts health and wellbeing.

“Spreading the U=U message is an important way to help reduce the stigma experienced by people living with HIV. Many people who are HIV-positive now live long and healthy lives when regularly taking antiretroviral treatment, with zero risk of transmitting to others. However, discrimination against people living with HIV, often based on myths and outdated beliefs, are a day to day reality for too many and must be challenged. Fast-Track Cities London will be working with all partners and the HIV sector over the coming years to eradicate stigma and discrimination.”

Garry, Brough, HIV community representative Fast-Track Cities London says: “Having grown up with the fear of HIV and lived with the virus for nearly 30 years, it is both thrilling and astonishing to be aiming to achieve zero HIV-related stigma, transmissions and deaths in London. The commitment from all the key partners in the Fast-Track Cities Initiative is crucial to helping us discover and demonstrate exactly how to get to zero. We already have the means to reach our goal, but it is going to be challenging HIV-related stigma and changing outdated perceptions of HIV that will be the key. The U=U message is central to challenging those misperceptions.”​

Professor Jane Anderson, Consultant Physician at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Co-Chair of Fast-Track Cities London, said: “The Fast-Track Cities ambition for London is to work together to end new HIV infections, end HIV related stigma and discrimination, and ensure that people living with HIV live long and live well. London is making great strides towards ‘Getting to zero’ by 2030, however HIV remains an important problem in London, with the infection impacting on Londoners more than any other part of the UK. Furthermore, stigma towards people with HIV is one of the greatest challenges we need to overcome in London. We believe by working together with all our partners and Londoners we can make London the global leader in this area.”

London has already achieved 95-98-97 against the United Nation’s AIDS targets, cementing the capital as the world-leader in its response to the HIV epidemic. In London, 95 per cent of people living with HIV are diagnosed, 98 per cent of people diagnosed are receiving treatment and 97 per cent of people receiving treatment are virally suppressed.

Find out more about Fast-Track Cities in our frequently asked questions.

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