Annual HIV number have dropped from nearly 900 new cases in B.C. each year down to approximately 200 due to the province’s Treatment as Prevention strategy. File image

World AIDS Day sees record-low number of cases of HIV and AIDS in B.C.

It’s important to look at the progress we have made: Minister of Health Adrian Dix

On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, B.C.’s minister of health noted there are record-low cases of HIV and AIDS as the crisis transitions from epidemic to chronic disease management.

“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, it’s important to look to the progress we have made against a formidable disease,” Dix said in a press release. “With the success of the Treatment as Prevention strategy (TasP), B.C. is seen as having the world’s gold standard to profoundly reduce HIV transmission and transition the crisis from a serious epidemic to a manageable chronic disease.”

The B.C. government has long been a pioneer in addressing the health of people with HIV and AIDS by offering the groundbreaking TasP, developed by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE).

“Since the first AIDS patients presented to St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver — struggling against stigma and marginalization – community, researchers and clinicians worked tirelessly to advance evidence-based research to inform B.C.’s HIV treatment policies,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, executive director and physician-in-chief, BCCfE. “This included pioneering effective treatment and supporting widespread availability of antiretroviral therapy. We are now reaping the rewards of this province’s continued commitment to provide the best possible treatment and care for those living with HIV as we set a standard for the rest of the world.”

Read more: B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

The overall number of new HIV infections in B.C. is continuing to decline. In 2018, there were 205 cases, a steady decline from 437 cases in 2004.

“Since the turn of the century, we’ve made incredible progress in our fight against HIV and AIDS,” says Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. “Research conducted by Dr. Julio Montaner and his team at the BCCfE has accelerated our efforts to reduce the impacts of what was once a death sentence, and this work has been crucial to the progress of not only our provincial efforts, but efforts around the world to end HIV and AIDS.”

To further advance the goal of eventually eliminating the disease, the BCCfE has established a research laboratory at 647 Powell St. in Vancouver to support ongoing HIV/AIDS research for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and beyond. Together with other programs of the BCCfE, this new laboratory works to support people living with HIV/AIDS, while also collecting vital research to establish innovative new techniques to eliminate the disease.

Helping to prevent the transmission of HIV, government expanded public funding for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) on Jan. 1, 2018. As a result, approximately 4,500 people at higher risk of HIV infection have qualified for coverage of this potentially lifesaving treatment, adding a new resource to the centre’s TasP. This is an increase from 2,000 in June 2018 and 3,300 in March 2019.

The Province’s STOP HIV/AIDS program receives approximately $20 million of annual funding. Seperately, government supports a three-year, $322-million contract with the BCCfE for the delivery of the HIV Drug Treatment Program, including HIV PrEP.

Today there are an estimated 7,271 British Columbians living with HIV. Since introducing pre-highly active antiretroviral therapy, the number of annual cases of HIV has dropped from nearly 900 new cases to approximately 200.

B.C. is the only province in Canada to implement the made-in-B.C. TasP strategy, pioneered by the BCCfE, and the only province to see a consistent decline in new HIV cases.

Additionally, the B.C. TasP strategy has been adopted by China, Brazil and Panama, among many others worldwide.

Research by the BCCfE shows gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic and that PrEP is a daily oral antiretroviral medication that is highly effective in reducing new cases of HIV.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A pair of sandhill cranes stop for a walk near Horsefly. (Ivan Hardwick photo)
Casual Country 2020: In tune with their surroundings

Horsefly couple enjoy photographing wildlife in the comfort of their own rural property

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, many homes including this one on Moon Avenue, are decorated for Halloween 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
EDITORIAL: Trick or treat

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate. Wait. Are they physically distancing?… Continue reading

Seniors in Williams Lake visit in the Seniors Activity Centre parking lot during a summer coffee house held during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Turkey ‘Dinner Out the Door’ coming up Nov. 7 at seniors centre

Derksen added in-town delivery is also available by calling 250-392-7946

North District RCMP are urging the public’s assistance in locating Prince George resident Amber Weutz, 25, last seen Oct. 18 in the Canim Mahood Lake area east of 100 Mile House. (Photo submitted)
RCMP release more information on missing Prince George woman

Amber Weutz, 25, was last seen in the Canim and Mahood Lake area on Oct. 18

Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune
SLIDESHOW: Nesika celebrates Halloween with costume parade, dance

Classes took turns within their own cohorts taking part in each event

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Most Read