On World AIDS Day, Toronto joins Fast-Track Cities Network

Fast-Track Cities Network. Image credit: X/@TAIBU_CHC

#WorldAIDSDay; #IndigenousAIDSAwarenessWeek; #Toronto; #FastTrackCitiesNetwork

On the observation of World AIDS DayDec 1 and at the start of Indigenous AIDS Awareness Week in Canada, the City of Toronto reportedly joined Fast-Track Cities, a network of more than 600 cities worldwide committed to ending the HIV epidemic locally, a news release has said.

The Paris and Sevilla Declarations were signed by Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow and Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, in a ceremony to formalize Toronto’s inclusion in the Fast-Track Cities Network.

“The HIV/AIDS epidemic sparked a powerful movement rooted in compassion, care and solidarity against stigma and discrimination…the Fast Track Cities Network and the dedication of our local service providers and organizations…promote health and well-being, and position Toronto alongside other great cities that are working towards ending HIV.” Olivia Chow has said in a news release

Proclamation of the Mayor’s World AIDS Day is available on the City’s Proclamations webpage.

“Through close collaboration…Thousands of Torontonians benefit from access to HIV testing, prevention, and treatment options…Let’s fast-track our efforts to prevent new HIV infections, avert AIDS-related deaths, and end HIV-related stigma,” said Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Eileen de Villa

Having 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.), The city of Toronto’s participation in the Fast-Track Cities Network was done at a crucial time.

Although HIV incidence in Toronto has reached pre-pandemic levels, there has been a nearly 40 percent decline in routine STI testing from 2019 to 2021, revealed by Toronto Public Health’s 2023 Population Health Profile.

Having claimed 40.4 million lives with ongoing transmission globally, HIV remains a major global public health issue including within countries that had sustained decreases in new infections.

Encouraging residents to take part in World AIDS Day activities, Toronto Public Health says recent advancements in HIV prevention and treatment can be learnt, 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,” reposted the news release.

More information is available on the Fast-Track Cities website.