Tel Aviv Joins the Global Fight to End HIV/AIDS

The Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai signed the "Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the AIDS Epidemic", in the presence of the President of IAPAC, representatives of the Israel Aids Task Force, the Society for AIDS Medicine, the LGBT Society, and the AIDS Center at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

The City of Tel Aviv-Yafo is now on the fast track to ending the AIDS epidemic through a set of commitments, including achieving the UNAIDS 90–90–90 targets, which will result in 90% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of people on treatment with suppressed viral loads, keeping them healthy and reducing the risk of HIV transmission.

The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality is working closely with local organizations in the struggle to prevent HIV infections and eliminate stigma and discrimination by supporting and participating in Aids Task Force's campaigns, allocating sites that serve as testing centers, assisting in the organization of the "Wigstock" event during the annual Pride week, a traditional drag festival with a goal of raising awareness for HIV and AIDS. The Municipality will continue to support local organizations operating in the city as well as international organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Even though Israel’s rate of HIV carriers is lower than in most Western European and North American countries, the main concern in Israel is the first part of the 90-90-90 plan; locating 90% of existing HIV carriers. This is mainly due to the fact that about 64% of the Israeli population has never been tested for HIV. The partners involved in promoting the program will join the Municipality in establishing a task force in order to find a solution and increase the rate of tests in the city. The program will include actions to reduce the number of cases of HIV infection in the city, and eradicate the stigma and discrimination that HIV carriers suffer from.

The Fast-Track Cities initiative was launched in 2014 as an initiative of IAPAC, the global AIDS organization, and was later adopted by UNAIDS, the UN's anti-AIDS arm. More than 90 priority cities around the world have since signed the Paris Declaration including Amsterdam, Paris, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Johannesburg.

Dr. Yuval Livnat, Director-General of the Israel AIDS Task Force, said that the Aids Task Force was pleased with the broad cooperation and welcomed The City of Tel Aviv-Yafo to the program: "By strengthening the cooperation between civil society organizations and national and local authorities, we will be able to eradicate HIV / AIDS infection and reach the 90-90-90 target. The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality has already proven its commitment to eradicate HIV/AIDS by allocating sites to serve as testing centers (i.e. Gan Meir and Florentine) and we are pleased to continue these efforts. With Tel Aviv’s Yafo’s rise as a global city, we believe that the city should be part of the international network of cities working to treat HIV and end the epidemic."

Yaniv Weizman, City Council Member in charge of the LGBTQ affairs, stressed that the struggle to eradicate the HIV epidemic crosses geographical and gender boundaries by eliminating stigmas and discriminations directed at the carriers the various communities. "The city of Tel Aviv-Yafo has joined over 90 cities around the world who have declared a partnership in achieving this important 90-90-90 target. In the complex reality of the State of Israel, Tel Aviv-Yafo will remain a beacon of tolerance and a safe haven for every human being."