Birmingham one of 13 U.S. cities dedicated to ending spread of AIDS by 2030

(Erin Edgemon | eedgemon@al.com)

Birmingham is one of 13 cities in the United States to join the Paris Declaration to end the spread of AIDS by 2030.

Mayor William Bell signed a declaration last week pledging to dedicate local resources in the fight to end AIDS.

State agencies, local organizations and the University of Alabama at Birmingham are partnering to achieve the following goals by 2020: 90 percent of people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90 percent of those who know their status will be engaged in care and on antiretroviral therapy (ART); and 90 percent of those on ART achieving full viral suppression, UAB stated in a release.

Partners include the city of Birmingham, Alabama Department of Public Health, Jefferson County Department of Public Health, Birmingham AIDS Outreach, Altheia House and others.

"If we can achieve the 90-90-90 plan by 2020, along with zero stigma and discrimination against those living with HIV/AIDS, we will be on our way to ending the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2030," said Michael Mugavero, professor in the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases and co-director for the UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR). "The only way to effectively do this is by coming together as a community to commit all of our resources to achieve this goal."

Currently, almost 40 percent of all individuals infected with HIV in Alabama are still not suppressed, meaning their virus is not under complete control with medication, according to UAB.

"The research at UAB continues to advance within the HIV/AIDS field," said Michael Saag, founder of the UAB 1917 Clinic and director of the UAB CFAR. "Without buy-in from our community, we can do only so much to educate, diagnose and treat those living with HIV/AIDS. This partnership will propel us to ‘bend the curve’ downward, leading to eliminating the spread of a disease that continues to take lives."

The UAB CFAR is one of the seven inaugural Centers for AIDS Research established in 1988 by the National Institutes of Health. The UAB CFAR was among the first to make the newest, most effective treatments available to patients, including the combination therapy that today is the standard of care.

The center recently launched a 90-90-90 scientific working group as a centerpiece of the center’s strategic plan, according to the university. As a chartered university-wide research center, UAB CFAR stimulates interdisciplinary, translational AIDS research that bridges basic, clinical and behavioral sciences.

The Fast-Track Cities initiative was launched on World AIDS Day 2014 in Paris, France. More than 70 high-burden cities around the world have since signed the Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending AIDS and engaged political leaders, affected communities, civil society, city health officials, clinical and service providers, and other stakeholders to accelerate their local AIDS responses.

Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman addresses audience members before a screening of the documentary "Atticus v. The Architect" about his prosecution and imprisonment during the Netroots Nation conference in Atlanta, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Siegelman is maintaining his innocence just days after completing his 78-month sentence on public corruption charges. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

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