On February 28, 2017, the mayor of Odesa Gennadiy Trukhanov signed Paris Declaration of commitment to Ending AIDS and has therefore joined the global cities movement initiated by the Mayor of Paris and UNAIDS in 2014. The city takes the commitment to significantly increase HIV testing and treatment coverage of Odesa residents with the aim to end AIDS in 2030 and to focus on programs for key populations.

Currently in Odesa, like on average in Ukraine, one in two HIV-positive persons knows his/her diagnosis while access to ART is lower than across the country. The leadership the city is demonstrating today can make a critical difference in responding to AIDS and sustaining the response.

The ceremony gathered representatives of Centre of Public Health, UN Secretary General special envoy on HIV/AIDS in EECA Michel Kazatchkine, representatives of UN family in Ukraine, including UNAIDS, UNICEF, representatives of the Embassy of France, representatives of the Network of People Living with HIV, Alliance for Public Health and other civil society organizations, Olena Pinchuk Anti-AIDS Foundation, partners of the city AIDS response programs.

Michel Kazatchkine extended warm greetings from the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who was one of the initiators of the Paris Declaration in 2014.

Mayor of Odesa Gennaidy Trukhanov said: ‘The city is well prepared to take this commitment. We have a good level of collaboration with the municipal services, strong AIDS service, partner NGOs to make this commitment possible’.

Andriy Klepikov from Alliance for Public Health acknowledged the leadership role of Odesa civil society in responding to HIV epidemic: ‘Currently the Global Fund program implemented by Odesa partner NGOs is annually reaching to over 24 thousand (or 65% of the estimate) of representatives of key populations groups. Thanks to a large extent to the prevention programs new HIV cases are going down in Odesa in last years’.

Odesa is the first city to sign Paris declaration within the Global Fund supported EECA regional cities program implemented by Alliance for Public Health (Ukraine) together with AFEW International (The Netherlands), Contact Netz/Licit (Switzerland) and under technical guidance of Stop TB Partnership and UNAIDS EECA office.

‘Odesa signing Paris declaration within our regional city project on HIV and TB in EECA is setting an example for other cities of the project from the 5 countries – Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Ukraine,’ said Tsovinar Sakanyan, the Global Fund portfolio manager.

Vinay Saldanha, Regional Director for Eastern Europe & Central Asia, UNAIDS, comments: ‘As new HIV cases continue to increase in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), the epidemic is focused in major cities. Concentrated among key populations and their sexual partners, particularly people who inject drugs, this can be reversed if cities get on the ‘Fast-Track’ to end AIDS. The leadership of the city of Odesa is the kind of immediate and decisive leadership needed to fast-track its AIDS response by 2020’.

Representative of SWAN who attended the ceremony expressed her expectation that key populations groups will be supported and prepared to  actively engage in planning and implementation of the follow up steps in Odesa to make 90-90-90-90 a reality for those most vulnerable to the epidemics.