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Greater Manchester set to join world’s leading cities in tackling HIV

27/08/2018

Greater Manchester is to join a global network of cities spearheading the fight against HIV.

  • Historic signing of Paris Declaration at Manchester Pride launches city-region’s bid to become a Fast Track City
  • Over £1 million committed to end the 300 new HIV transmissions in Greater Manchester every year

Greater Manchester is to join a global network of cities spearheading the fight against HIV.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham unveiled the plan for the city-region to become part of the Fast Track Cities network as he spoke at the Manchester Pride Candlelit Vigil, where thousands of people came together in Sackville Gardens to remember those lost to HIV and stand united against the challenges facing LGBT communities. 

In launching the application, the Mayor set out the bold plan to end all new cases of HIV in Greater Manchester residents within 25 years.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, responsible for health and care devolution, is working with a broad network of communities and partners, to achieve this through a £1.3 million programme of targeted support for people living with HIV or most at risk.

Actions being introduced from later this year include:

  • Encouraging the use of PrEP and PEP medication amongst the most at-risk groups, which has been proven to stop HIV in its tracks
  • Establishing new peer-led services and support tailored to individual needs
  • Substantially increasing screening and testing at home, in the community and through sexual health services
  • Maximising prompt and effective treatment for those diagnosed; and
  • Challenging stigmas and other social and cultural barriers that prevent people accessing testing and support.
  • Further promoting and encouraging safer sex practices.

As a Fast Track City, Greater Manchester would join more than 250 others from across the globe to take combined action, share best practice and tackle discrimination. These cities typically have significant numbers of people living with HIV.

Across Greater Manchester, more than 5,650 people are thought to be living with HIV. The rate per thousand of the population is higher than the England average – in Manchester almost three times higher and in Salford almost double.

Almost 300 new HIV diagnoses are made every year in Greater Manchester. 44% of these come at a late stage, greatly increasing impacts to individuals’ lives, risks of onward transmission and costs of treatment. In addition, around 745 people are thought to be living with HIV but unaware of their positive status.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Ending all new cases of HIV in Greater Manchester within a generation is an ambitious goal – but we can do it. We are doing ground-breaking work in Greater Manchester to tackle HIV, and by joining Fast Track Cities we will be part of a global network of cities committed to ending HIV where we can share expertise and speak with a united worldwide voice.

“It also shows that we are taking a stand against stigma, instead standing shoulder to shoulder with people living with HIV.”

Lord Peter Smith, Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership said: “Although great progress has been made in the fight against HIV, there is still much to do – both around the world and across our city-region. Becoming a Fast Track City would be a great endorsement of our £1 million ambition to eliminate new cases of HIV in Greater Manchester within a generation, and an important step towards realising this vision”.

Eleanor Roaf, Trafford Council Interim Director of Public Health, Co-Chair of the Greater Manchester Sexual Health Network, said: “We are delighted to be joining the group of Fast Track Cities. Greater Manchester has a great track record in developing and delivering excellent sexual health services but there is still more to do.  We still see too many people becoming infected with HIV, or not being diagnosed as early as they could be.  Our existing investments, coupled with the extra funding and the Fast Track City status, gives us a real opportunity to address this.”

LGBT Foundation Deputy Chief Executive Rob Cookson, from the PaSH Partnership, said: “‘The desire to join Fast Track Cities is amazing news and supports Greater Manchester’s ambition to end all new transmissions of HIV within a generation. HIV is such an important issue for so many people. This now gives Greater Manchester the opportunity to create zero HIV infections and zero stigma’.

The Fast-Track Cities initiative is a partnership between high HIV burden cities worldwide and four core partners – the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), and the city of Paris.

The initiative was launched on World AIDS Day (1 December) 2014 with an initial 26 cities signing the Paris Declaration. Today, the Fast-Track Cities initiative currently has over 200 signatories – cities with a significant number of people living with HIV, among which a subset of cities, including London, is prioritized because progress in those cities could have an impact on national HIV epidemics. Collectively, the programme initiative seeks to galvanise action in and solidarity among cities across the world, sharing best practices and tackling stigma and discrimination. The current list of priority Fast-Track Cities is available at www.iapac.org/cities.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is governed by the Health and Social Care Board, which meets regularly in public. The Partnership comprises the local authority and NHS organisations in Greater Manchester, representatives from primary care, NHS England, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, Healthwatch, Greater Manchester Police and the Fire and Rescue Service. In April 2016 we took responsibility for the £6 billion Greater Manchester health and social care budget. In addition we have responsibility for a £450 million transformation fund (over five years) to help make the changes needed to dramatically improve health and social care and make sure we can afford everything we will need to look after our population in the future. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and visit us online.

Greater Manchester Sexual Health Network aims to facilitate a greater profile and presence for all prevention, treatment and care services by improving clinical outcomes, patient experience and equality of access to all sexual health services. The Network is the UK’s first comprehensive Sexual Health Network and includes amongst others HIV, genito-urinary medicine, contraception, conception, teenage pregnancy and abortion services provided by the statutory, community and voluntary sectors. For more information see http://www.sexualhealthnetwork.co.uk

The Passionate about Sexual Health (PaSH) Partnership is a collaboration between BHA (Black Health Agency) for Equality, George House Trust, and the LGBT Foundation.  The PaSH Partnership will deliver a comprehensive programme of interventions to meet the changing needs of people newly diagnosed with HIV, living longer term with HIV or at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.  The Greater Manchester Sexual Health Improvement Programme (GMSHIP) will include HIV testing, access to low cost condoms, a dedicated sexual health website, HIV outreach, and support for adults and children newly diagnosed with HIV or living with HIV longer term.  The PaSH Partnership believes the work it will deliver will be key to achieving Greater Manchester’s vision of ending HIV transmission within a generation. For more information see http://www.gmpash.org.uk