Today, on World AIDS Day and at the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week in Canada, the City of Toronto joined Fast-Track Cities, a network of more than 600 cities worldwide committed to ending the HIV epidemic locally.
Mayor Olivia Chow and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, signed the Paris and Sevilla Declarations in a ceremony to formalize Toronto’s inclusion in the Fast-Track Cities Network. The Mayor’s World AIDS Day proclamation is available on the City’s Proclamations webpage.
The City’s participation in the Fast-Track Cities Network comes at a crucial time as Toronto has seen a sustained increase in reported HIV infections since 2016 (with the exception being during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a decrease in sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.) In addition, Toronto Public Health’s 2023 Population Health Profile revealed that HIV incidence in Toronto has reached pre-pandemic levels but testing has not, with a nearly 40 per cent decline in routine STI testing from 2019 to 2021..
HIV remains a major global public health issue, having claimed 40.4 million lives with ongoing transmission globally; including within countries that had sustained decreases in new infections.
Toronto Public Health encourages residents to take part in World AIDS Day activities, learn about recent advancements in HIV prevention and treatment and support those affected by HIV.
Supported by the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care and Fast-Track Cities Institute, the Fast-Track Cities Network is a collaboration that unites cities from around the world to collectively address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. More information is available on the Fast-Track Cities website.
“The HIV/AIDS epidemic sparked a powerful movement rooted in compassion, care and solidarity against stigma and discrimination. With the support and expertise provided by the Fast Track Cities Network and the dedication of our local service providers and organizations, we can make a difference in people’s lives, promote health and well-being, and position Toronto alongside other great cities that are working towards ending HIV.”
– Mayor Olivia Chow
“This World AIDS Day marks 42 years of HIV and AIDS. Communities of people living with HIV, alongside their allies and care providers, advocated for access to HIV treatment, and in doing so, transformed the world. In signing today’s declarations, the City is committing to a comprehensive and community-engaged approach that allows all people to access quality life-saving and enhancing prevention, treatment, care and support services for HIV.”
– Councillor Chris Moise (Toronto Centre), Chair of the Board of Health
“Through close collaboration, scaling up evidence-informed interventions, and a commitment to putting people and communities affected by HIV at the centre, we can make great progress and seize the opportunities of this initiative. Thousands of Torontonians benefit from access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment options, but disparities persist and achieving equity is essential. Let’s fast-track our efforts to prevent new HIV infections, avert AIDS-related deaths, and end HIV-related stigma.”
– Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa
“IAPAC and FTCI welcome Toronto as the second Canadian city to join the global Fast-Track Cities network. We also applaud the city’s multistakeholder HIV response, which prioritizes community, clinical, political, and public health engagement. Placing Torontonians living with and affected by HIV at the center of efforts to close gaps across the HIV continuum is a model for progressive urban health initiatives, which will accelerate the end of the City’s HIV epidemic by building upon significant progress Toronto’s HIV community has achieved over many years.”
– Dr. José M. Zuniga, President/CEO, IAPAC and FTCI
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