Ruslan Codrenu, the Acting Mayor of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, signed the Paris Declaration to end the AIDS epidemic in cities on 31 May. He committed the city to achieving the 90–90–90 targets by 2020, whereby 90% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are on treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads. The city will specifically focus on marginalized and vulnerable people and on ending stigma and discrimination.
“Achieving 90–90–90 will be difficult, but it is never too late to start making the necessary changes to improve people’s lives and health. Today, the city authorities commit to significantly increasing the coverage of the residents of Chisinau with HIV prevention, testing and treatment services, with the aim of ending the AIDS epidemic and concentrating efforts on programmes for key populations,” said Mr Codrenu.
Mr Codrenu said he expects that a new municipal HIV control programme for 2019–2020 will soon be adopted by the city council. The programme will focus on additional HIV testing and treatment for approximately 750 people living with HIV and the provision of HIV prevention services for key populations.
“Chisinau must move quickly, not only to reach 90–90–90, but also to eliminate discrimination against people living with HIV and key populations, which remains a significant barrier. In this struggle, our city is not alone. Chisinau is supported by a team of regional and national leaders who are willing to share their expertise,” said Svetlana Plamadeala, UNAIDS Country Manager for the Republic of Moldova.
Chisinau already supports a range of HIV prevention programmes for key populations, including harm reduction and opioid substitution therapy programmes for people who inject drugs, rapid HIV testing and condom distribution for sex workers and their clients and condom distribution among gay men and other men who have sex with men. However, it is planned that with the adoption of the new municipal HIV control programme, the quality, coverage and impact of the programmes will be significantly enhanced.
Chisinau is the seventh city in eastern Europe and central Asia to sign the Paris Declaration, which since 2014 has been signed by more than 300 cities worldwide.
The signing of the Paris Declaration in Chisinau is the most recent result of a long history of effective cooperation between national, state and nongovernmental organizations, regional networks representing key populations and international organizations
According to government estimates, there are about 3200 people living with HIV in Chisinau.
“Today, we witness what can be achieved through political will. It is of paramount importance to us that the Paris Declaration is not another declarative statement, but is followed by the adoption of the municipal HIV programme, with specific and measurable goals and roles and a budget,” said Ruslan Poverga, General Director of the Association Positive Initiative.