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Newport joins global fight to tackle HIV/AIDS

Posted on Monday 20th November 2023

Newport has joined a global network of over 300 cities committed to eradicating HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths.

The Fast Track Cities network is an international initiative which works to end new cases of HIV by 2030, have zero preventable deaths from HIV/AIDS, zero stigma and discrimination and a better quality of life for people living with HIV.

Newport has become the second city in Wales to join the network, after Cardiff and the Vale.

The network was set up in 2014 with the signing of the Paris Declaration on World AIDS Day. Cities in the network pledge to work together and share best practices on meeting the targets set out in the declaration.

The council has worked closely with Aneurin Bevan University Health Board (ABUHB) and Pride in the Port to establish a Fast Track Newport group. Newport will become a pathfinder city, with the potential for the scheme to expand into the wider ABUHB area. The group has the support of Newport resident Martyn Butler OBE, co-founder of the Terrence Higgins Trust, for the plans.

The Newport group will initially focus on three priorities:

  • Increasing awareness of testing and numbers of people getting tested
  • Reducing the stigma around HIV
  • Reaching out to communities that have traditionally been underserved with access to HIV services.

Councillor Jane Mudd, leader of the council, signed the Paris Declaration this morning at a ceremony at the civic centre.

Speaking at the ceremony, Councillor Mudd said: “I’m very pleased to be able to sign this declaration on behalf of the city of Newport.

“Joining Fast Track Cities will give us the backing and resources of a global network of knowledge and experience which we can use at a local level to deliver positive outcomes for people living with HIV."

Councillor Laura Lacey, Newport City Council LGBTQIA+ champion, said: “We have been working with our partners for a while on these plans, and I’m delighted that we are now able to add our name to the growing list of cities coming together to tackle HIV/AIDS.

“Although the council has signed the declaration on behalf of the city, this is very much a community-led project. I’m delighted that Pride in the Port are working with us on this.”

Andrew Mudd, trustee at Pride in the Port, said: “Pride in the Port are proud supporters of the FastTrack initiative, in Newport and beyond. We are thrilled to be working in partnership with stakeholders from across our city to help deliver on this incredible initiative.

“Newport may be a small city, but it is an ambitious city, and I cannot think of a finer place or finer communities to help deliver on the Fast Track goal of zero HIV transmissions by 2030.

“We firmly believe that Fast Track can and will save lives and we look forward to playing a role in its future successes.

Gian Molinu, chair of Fast Track Cymru, said: “We’re delighted that Newport is the second Fast Track City to sign in Wales and that they’ll be working across the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board area to show that people how HIV has changed.

“Treatment means you can have a job, a family, and live a long and healthy life.”

For more information about Fast Track Cities, visit https://www.fast-trackcities.org/.

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