Last Thursday we had the first meeting of the Fast Track Cities Board here in Glasgow. We’re proud to be leading the way here by making Glasgow the first Fast Track City in Scotland. We’re also proud that Glasgow’s leadership means that Scotland could very well be the first ever country to have all its cities sign up to the initiative.  

Our first meeting proved that signing the Paris Agreement isn’t the end of the process, but the start of it, and I am extremely excited for what the Fast Track Cities Initiative can bring to Glasgow, and what we can bring to other cities around the world in their own fight against HIV. 

Joining with 270 cities around the world to take part is a truly internationalist solution, and one that I am proud to be a part of as Chair of the Glasgow Fast Track Cities Board. 

This is about reaffirming our commitment to making our city a global leader in reducing HIV transmission rates and learning from other cities around the world on how best to get to zero. Fast Track Cities allows us to join with every other Fast Track City, wherever they are in the world, with one common goal: reaching, maintaining, and exceeding the 90-90-90 targets (90% of all people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy having viral suppression). 

We’ve got to be ready to work with international partners and learn from them if we are to tackle the recent increase in transmissions here in Glasgow, and we need to be ready to face these problems head on.  

Glasgow’s current data on people living with HIV is light years ahead of many other cities that are currently signed up to the Fast Track Cities Initiative, and we are in a fantastic starting position both in terms of how we can help other cities around the world, and how they can help us.  

Moving forward here in Glasgow we need to continue to push for the opening of a Drug Consumption Room to give people who inject drugs a safer environment to do so and to reduce HIV transmissions within this marginalised community.  

Signing up to the Fast Track Cities Initiative is an incredibly important step on the road of getting HIV transmissions to zero, and in connecting some of the key players in both healthcare and community activism we have a real chance to make material change for the people of Glasgow. We’ll be reaching out to community activists and organisations that work on the front-line to develop our Fast-Track Cities Action Plan. We want you to get involved, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.  

Together, we can make serious progress. Let’s get to work.