My name is Rhys, a first time dad blogging about my adventures and experiences of being a parent. [email protected]

Swansea aims to be HIV transmission-free by 2030

Credit: Swansea Council

A LOCAL campaign aiming to transform perceptions of HIV has been welcomed into a global partnership set up to stop transmission of the condition by the end of the decade.

Fast Track Swansea Bay was set up five months ago to challenge outdated views about HIV and AIDS as part of a new effort to cut the transmission of HIV in local communities to zero by the end of the decade.

And now it has joined an international network of 500 cities around the world who’ve signed-up to the Paris Declaration on HIV to get on the fast track to reducing transmission of the infection.

Elliott King, chair of Fast Track Swansea Bay and Swansea Council’s cabinet member for equalities and culture, said: “HIV and AIDS were once seen as a death sentence for anyone who got the diagnosis. But that’s not the case and it hasn’t been for years.

“Thanks to effective treatments developed over the last 40 years, people with HIV can live the lives they want without ever passing it on to anyone else.”

“Fast Track Swansea Bay was only set up five months ago as part of an all-Wales campaign to challenge perceptions of HIV and reduce its transmission here to zero by 2030 and the council is fully supportive of it.

“Signing up to The Paris Declaration on Fast-Track Cities Ending the HIV Epidemic means that we are further committing ourselves to putting those affected by the conditions at the heart of what we do, address the causes of HIV and AIDS and ensuring there’s money and other resources available to help make the 2030 ambition happen.”

Fast Track Swansea Bay brings together community groups, NHS medical consultants and specialist nurses, Swansea Council and voluntary organisations.

In last November’s HIV Testing Week they delivered information and resources to local youth groups, schools and colleges, businesses and charities, backed by a social media awareness-raising campaign and face-to-face stalls in Swansea’s Quadrant Centre and community venues.

Sarah Maslen, development officer for Fast Track Swansea Bay, said the organisation has come a long way in just five months and signing-up to the Paris Declaration was a commitment to going further and faster in the coming years.

She said: “It feels monumental to have witnessed the signing of the Paris Declaration during this year’s LGBT+ History Month.

“This year’s theme provided an opportunity to honour those from the LGBTQ+ community who have contributed to medicine and healthcare and the work done by so many professionals across the world to tackle the AIDS pandemic.

“I’m really grateful to those who have volunteered their time to contribute to the work of Fast Track Swansea Bay and for all their achievements so far and I’m looking forward to seeing all that is still to come.”