Monday, August 23, 2010

Engaging cities in the HIV response


Approximately half of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, seven out of ten global citizens will be living in a “mega-city” of more than 10 million people. In an official visit this week to Shanghai—one of the world’s largest metropolises—UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé called attention to the central role that cities can play in the AIDS response.

“While it is clear that cities are important to the HIV response, they have not been sufficiently mobilized and supported to act,” said Mr Sidibé, addressing an audience of more than 100 health sector leaders and practitioners from across China. “I believe that it is time for this to change and for cities to take the lead in making HIV history.”

The rapid growth of cities has created conditions where HIV can thrive. Globally, it is estimated that as many as 50% of HIV-positive people live in cities. In some urban areas, the HIV epidemic is so pervasive that it is compares to national epidemics of entire countries.

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