Contact: Carol Schliesinger
Public Relations Manager
Maria Luisa Cesar
SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 30, 2017) – With the stroke of Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s pen, San Antonio today joined Fast Track Cities, an international city-led initiative to end AIDS worldwide by 2030. The formal signing of the Paris Declaration on Fast Track Cities Ending AIDS makes San Antonio the first city in Texas to commit to ending new cases of HIV through education and prevention and establishes a collaborative response to treating existing cases quickly and without stigma.
Launched in 2014, the Fast Track Cities Initiative is a global partnership between the City of Paris, International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) and United Nations in collaboration with local, national, regional and international partners and stakeholders. Fast Track Cities aims to leverage existing HIV programs and resources to strengthen citywide responses by reaching 90-90-90 targets by the year 2020:
- 90 percent of people with HIV are diagnosed [86 percent in San Antonio]
- 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV are being treated [72 percent in San Antonio]
- 90 percent of people being treated for HIV have undetectable viral loads [85 percent in San Antonio]
In addition, Fast Track Cities aims to eliminate AIDS, a potential result of HIV, by 2030.
“With coordinated support from our community partners and a commitment from City and County government, we have an opportunity today to eliminate new cases of HIV,” Mayor Nirenberg said. “The time is now for San Antonio to do more, to be better, to engage people without shame or stigma.”
In the summer of 2016, San Antonio learned it had the largest cluster of new HIV infections in Texas. The CDC and DSHS traced rapid and ongoing transmission of one HIV strain, and noted missed chances to diagnose HIV (especially in emergency departments), link people with HIV to care, and optimally treat HIV.
In the last five years, medical professionals have learned that people with HIV enjoy long, healthy lives if they begin treatment promptly; that HIV is preventable with a safe daily pill that is 92% effective; and that when treatment brings HIV to such low levels that a blood test cannot detect it, then the HIV is considered “undetectable” and significantly less transmittable after 6 months.
“The four core partners of the Fast-Track Cities initiative welcome San Antonio as the 14th city in the United States, and the first in Texas, to the global network of cities that are committed to accelerating their local AIDS response to attain the United Nation’s 90-90-90 targets by 2020,” said Dr. José M. Zuniga, President/CEO of IAPAC and UNAIDS Special Advisor on Fast-Track Cities. “Congratulations to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, and key stakeholders, notably affected communities, for their joint efforts to leave no woman, man, or child behind as we aim to end AIDS as a public health threat.”
San Antonio now joins other Fast Track Cities in the United States, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Phoenix, Providence, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
“Joining Fast Track Cities and following the 90-90-90 model will allow us to transform HIV from a communicable disease to a chronic disease and eventually eliminate it altogether,” said Dr. Colleen Bridger, Director, Metro Health.
Joining Fast Track Cities is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between the San Antonio People’s Caucus of consumers living with HIV, the Ryan White Program Administrative Agency and Planning Council, the Alamo Area Resource Center, BEAT AIDS, CentroMed, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, University Health System, the Center for Health Care Services, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health), Mujeres Unidas, UT Health, UTSA and the Health Collaborative. This collaboration group is called the End Stigma End HIV Alliance (the Alliance).
“We, as a community, need to rise up and take the necessary steps to reduce HIV infections. This initiative will help accomplish this goal through education, testing and treatment,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff.
Starting in 2018, Fast Track Cities will host a San Antonio data dashboard on its web portal, http://www.fast-trackcities.org. Metro Health will update the website annually, so stakeholders can track the community’s progress. A report to the community and additional HIV data can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/Health under the Fast Track Cities tab and at http://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/News/HealthDataReports.
Last year, Bexar County had 360 new HIV diagnoses. In addition to newly diagnosed cases, San Antonio had roughly 6,000 people living with HIV (rate: 310.4 per 100,000) Bexar County. Most of these people are 45 years and older.
Attached is a fact sheet outlining the End Stigma End HIV Alliance areas of focus.