The 90-90-90 HIV/AIDS intervention initiative, a global initiative which was originally adopted by mayors from around the world at an HIV/AIDS conference in Paris, France, in December 2014, has been formally introduced to Francistown.
Although the programme has been running in Gaborone since 2015, Francistown Mayor Sylvia Muzila expressed optimism that it is possible to eliminate HIV infections by 2030. “As mayors, we strongly believe we can stop all new infections, avert AIDS related deaths, fight tuberculosis and all other infectious diseases,” said the notably hopeful Muzila.
The 90:90:90 is an ambitious UNAIDS goal that; by 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; by 2020, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and by 2020, 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Addressing delegates at the ceremony, Muzila said it is not only possible to exceed the 90-90-90 target, but there is a possibility of even reaching hundred percent. “Together we can achieve or surpass the 90-90-90 targets and even reach a hundred percent,” adding that an all hands on deck approach would be critical from this moment going forward.
Amongst other things, Mayor Muzila told delegates that the initiative will not only be exclusive to cities, but will spread to villages and districts to ensure that no one is left behind. She said Council Chairpersons, whose status is on par with that of the Mayor will be responsible for leading the initiative in Districts.
She also highlighted the need to cover vulnerable groups stating: “We want to put people at the centre of everything we do, especially vulnerable groups such as sex workers, drug users, those who have sex with people of the same sex and young women,” she said.