Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has taken another step in its commitment to fighting HIV, by signing up to a national initiative which aims to eradicate the virus and improve support, testing and treatment.
The Trust was one of a number of local service providers in Blackpool to commit to join the Fast Track Cities Initiative, a global partnership between populations across the world at a special event on 30 November where a pledge was signed along with community partners Renaissance UK, public health practitioners and political leaders.
The Trust’s HIV Service Manager, Anna Obi, said: “The Fast Track Cities Initiative is the biggest opportunity our generation will have to play a part in ending the HIV and Aids epidemic.
“The HIV Service at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals is a key partner in the initiative, we are fully committed to the pledges of the declaration and doing all we can to work collaboratively to achieve the target of zero new HIV transmissions and zero Aids- related deaths by 2030.
“This commitment has already been evident in the way the teams have worked on the ‘Opt out’ Blood Borne Virus testing project at Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s A&E department, providing HIV education to colleagues and putting on HIV events on World Aids Day at the Trust.
“We have been building strong and collaborative relationships with other key service partners in Blackpool particularly with Renaissance in our joint outreach work at Pride events and improving access to HIV support for those living with HIV.”
Anna added that the Trust’s HIV team provides excellent HIV care and the organisation is already making significant progress towards helping the area achieve the important UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.
That means 95% of the people living with HIV know their status, are on lifesaving antiretroviral treatment and are virally suppressed by 2025.
Blackpool met the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target for 2020. Data for the area for 2021 shows that an estimated 94.7% of people living with HIV were diagnosed with HIV, 99.8% of people diagnosed with HIV were on antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 97.4% of people on ART were virally suppressed.
Anna added there is more work to be done and now is the time for action and not complacency.
She said: “Our team is passionate about Blackpool having Fast Track City Status as it helps us look ahead, be more strategic and innovative but we need all colleagues at the Trust and key services in Blackpool to engage with this fully if we are to achieve. I encourage everyone to get behind this and get involved.”
Contact the HIV Team email@example.com and follow the progress on Fast-Track Cities London: Helping end HIV by 2030 (fasttrackcities.london).