Karachi, the first city of Pakistan joining the Fast-Track Cities initiative
The MoU proposes to join a network of more than 350 cities worldwide that have committed to ending HIV by 2030.
This agreement makes Karachi the first city in Pakistan to be on the Fast Track to end HIV, and is the 11th in the Asia Pacific region to do so.
Pakistan has an estimated 210,000 people living with HIV of which 43% are in the province of Sindh with 19,031 positive cases registered in care of which 16,868 (89%) are receiving Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) of which 7,774 (46 %) are from the metropolitan Karachi.
Cities joining the Fast-Track Cities network aim to help cities and municipalities to share best practices with one another, thereby supporting urban communities of learning and achieve UNAIDS “95-95-95-95” HIV programmatic targets.
In line with the new Global AIDS Strategy (2021-2026), Fast-Track Cities are now committed to a more ambitious set of targets (95-95-95) with the addition of a fourth 95 target of 95% of at-risk individuals using combination HIV prevention. An adjunct to these targets is a call for zero stigma and discrimination.
The MoU signing ensures that people living with and affected by HIV will be the center of focus and that they will be part of the decision making process around policies and programmes that affect their lives.
That all means, including municipal ordinances, policies and programmes will be used to address factors that make people vulnerable to HIV and other diseases, including laws that discriminate or criminalise key populations.
Work will be done closely with communities to ensure that people with HIV enjoy equal participation in social, civil, political, economic and cultural life. That they will be free from prejudice, stigma, discrimination, violence and persecution.
Communities, clinical and service providers, law enforcement and other partners will be collaborated with in this venture and to better serve the marginalised and vulnerable populations. These communities include folks living in slums, migrants, other displaced people, young women, sex workers, people who use drugs, gay men, other men who have sex with men, trans persons, in order to foster social equity.
The MoU also states that the leadership will integrate health and social programmes to improve the delivery services including for, HIV, TB, Viral Hepatitis, among others.