the City of Marseille rewarded for its commitment
The city of Marseille has received the label “City committed against AIDS”, in a context of a drop in HIV screenings over the past two years, raising fears of a possible resumption of the epidemic. This title has been awarded by the association Elus Locaux Contre le Sida (ELCS) since 2011.
Since 2018, this is the third time that the city of Marseille has received the “City committed against AIDS” label awarded by Elus Locaux Contre le Sida (ELCS).
The president of the association and Deputy Mayor of Paris, Jean-Luc Romero-Michel came to present this distinction which aims to “make the City’s commitment visible and to encourage other institutional actors in the territory to become more involved in the fight against the disease.
“What is interesting is above all to consider that in the response to AIDS, the city is the right level”, emphasizes Céline Offerlé, president of Aides Paca, drawing on the example of San Francisco or London, where under the local political impetus “we have seen drastic declines in new infections”.
Alongside the national sexual health strategy, and their regional application by the ARS, large cities have a major role to play, according to Céline Offerlé, in the fight against HIV, in particular to reach target audiences. Especially since it is in these metropolises that the epidemic is concentrated.
The label of the association Elus Locaux Contre le Sida was created on December 1, 2011 to encourage cities to commit to preventing and combating the HIV epidemic. Since then, many cities such as Nice, Lyon and Paris have been rewarded for their efforts. Just like Marseille, which was recognized for the first time as a “City committed against AIDS” in 2018 and then in 2021.
Céline Offerlé recalls that “Marseille has always been a forerunner in the fight against HIV, it was the first in terms of risk reduction policy, and the first to work on the provision of syringe exchangers, and the development of CARRUDs, these help and support centers for risk reduction for drug users”.
One regret, however, for the regional president of Aides, is that in a committed city like Marseille ‘“a lower risk consumption room could not see the light of day, whereas they were created in Strasbourg and Paris”.
Shooting rooms of which Michèle Rubirola, spoke again recently and would like them to see the light of day in 2023.
Céline Offerlé notes that “today the new municipality wishes to extend this commitment”. In March of this year, the association “Towards Marseille without AIDS and without hepatitis” was thus born, under the impetus of the City of Marseille. It is one of the 24 associative structures for the fight against HIV supported by the City.
Céline Offerlé emphasizes that in Marseilles the problem of HIV is today very much linked to migrants. “Before, we had a municipal policy very focused on drug users, but there is really an urgency to consider the new issues and new audiences, and beyond harm reduction, to expand access to PrEP and access to screening for these populations”.
In Marseilles, Aides is also continuing its action towards these HIV target groups with its Spot system, one of four created in France to experiment with a free community sexual health centre. “We have just opened a gynecological consultation for migrant women and trans women”.
Like five other French cities, Marseille has also joined the international network of “Cities without AIDS”, by signing the Paris Declaration. The network currently has more than 350 member cities around the world.
In France, 200,000 people live with HIV. Paca remains the second metropolitan region most affected by the epidemic, behind Ile de France.
According to Public Health France, in 2020, the Covid crisis had a negative effect on screenings. In Paca, they fell by 18%.
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