News

HIV tests to be offered to all B.C. adults

Nurse Claire Madill prepares to take blood samples for HIV testing from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall, Health Minister Terry Lake and Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS. - Tom Fletcher/Black Press
Nurse Claire Madill prepares to take blood samples for HIV testing from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall, Health Minister Terry Lake and Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS.
— image credit: Tom Fletcher/Black Press

VICTORIA – Routine HIV-AIDS testing is being offered once every five years to all B.C. residents aged 18-70, building on infection control efforts that have been recognized around the world in reducing disease transmission and death.

B.C.'s "Treatment as Prevention" strategy has proven so effective in pilot programs in Vancouver and Prince George that the government is extending its outreach efforts across the province. Routine testing of pregnant women has all but eliminated mother-child transmission, and anti-viral therapies have cut the death toll of AIDS by 90% since 1996.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said going beyond identified risk groups has proven effective in finding infected people in time to provide effective drug treatment. The treatment not only extends life to nearly normal lifespan, it also prevents most transmission of the virus once the patient is being treated.

"These guidelines hold the promise that by expanding HIV testing as we have done, we will be taking another great step towards potentially eliminating HIV in the province of British Columbia," Kendall said.

Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS, said the United Nations continues to use B.C. as a model for its global effort to eliminate the disease.

"Back in 1995 we used to have one person or more dying per day at St. Paul's Hospital alone, every year because of HIV and AIDS," Montaner said. "Today, my [physician] residents don't know what that looks like. We virtually have eliminated death from HIV."

Health Minister Terry Lake said the program is funded with $19.9 million a year, and is recognized as an investment in prevention that saves the province money as well as improving individual well-being for patients.

Information for health care providers on the new testing guidelines is available at a new website.

Doctors will continue to offer HIV-AIDS tests to patients of any age who present with new or worsening medical conditions that require lab tests, show symptoms of HIV infection, are pregnant or if they request an HIV test.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Surgical waits average five months in B.C.
 
B.C. Federation of Labour votes to back transit referendum
 
Jet fuel pipeline opponents get day in court
End of an era for two Richmond councillors
 
Richmond couple pitch touchscreen innovation to Dragons’ Den
 
Fraser Health gets new president
Fencing off homeless camp part of a broader action plan: City
 
Burnaby will seek compensation for protest policing costs: Mayor
 
Wildlife Rescue needs donations of dish soap only available in US

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Nov 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.