TORONTO, December 1, 2023—
On November 9, Toronto City Council adopted a motion from Mayor Olivia Chow and Councillor Chris Moise to make Toronto a Fast Track City, part of a global network of cities committed to meeting the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets. The Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) commends Mayor Chow, Councillor Moise and City Council for taking this important step forward.
Although HIV diagnoses in Ontario have declined over the past several years, hundreds of people continue to be diagnosed every year, the majority in Toronto. (Learn more at ohesi.ca.)
Since 2018, the OHTN has worked with Toronto Public Health and representatives from over 20 community organizations in the Greater Toronto Area to develop an action plan to support Toronto as a Fast Track City. The project—Toronto to Zero—takes an equity and social determinants of health approach to scaling up HIV testing, prevention, treatment and care.
By joining the Fast Track City network, Toronto commits to enhancing HIV monitoring and data analysis, increasing testing, speeding up referrals to prevention and treatment services, and improving collaboration among government, public health and community partners. This commitment ensures that Toronto is well-positioned to implement Ontario’s HIV/AIDS Action Plan to 2030, and achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets.
Provincial and UNAIDS targets specify that by 2030, 95 per cent of people living with HIV in Toronto should be diagnosed, 95 per cent of those diagnosed should be on treatment, and 95 per cent of those on treatment should be virally suppressed. To achieve these targets, special focus will be paid to populations with increased burden of HIV, including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (including trans men); African, Caribbean and Black populations; Indigenous Peoples; people who use drugs; and cis and trans women, including those from aforementioned communities, who face systemic and social inequities, and are more likely to be exposed to HIV through a sexual or drug-using partner.
With World AIDS Day upon us, we reflect back on the many achievements made since the early days of the HIV epidemic in Ontario—there is a lot to be proud of! But we also keep our focus on the road ahead. The provincial HIV/AIDS Action Plan to 2030, released this World AIDS Day, is our blueprint for ending HIV as a public health threat in Ontario. This, together with Toronto’s Fast Track City commitment, signals a new era in our response to HIV.
The OHTN is excited to move forward with the City of Toronto and our Toronto to Zero partners, and to make HIV a rare and manageable condition in Toronto by 2030.