Canada needs a new game plan to eradicate HIV

World in a positioned to eradicate HIV epidemic by 2030

The world got some inspiring news at last summer’s International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia: UNAIDS stated we are positioned to see the end of the HIV epidemic by 2030.

To achieve this goal, it proposed that by 2020, 90 per cent of people living with HIV globally should be diagnosed.

Ninety per cent of those diagnosed should be receiving treatment, and 90 per cent of those on treatment should have a significantly reduced amount of virus in their blood, greatly improving the health of people living with HIV and reducing the risk of transmission.

Similar aspirations have been run up the flagpole before, but this time many say the goal of ending the epidemic is reachable. That’s because new research is pointing the way to methods that can greatly reduce the amount of HIV in an infected person, and greatly reduce the likelihood of transmitting HIV to someone else.

Research now confirms: if tested and treated early, people can have a life expectancy approaching those not living with the virus; and early detection, followed by proper treatment and care, not only produces a better health outcome for the individual, but greatly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to a partner.

Many Canadians don’t know these facts. Sadly, one-quarter of the 71,300 people living with HIV in Canada do not know they are infected. Starting treatment after the disease has progressed increases the likelihood of HIV-related illness and death.

Armed with this new knowledge about HIV transmission and prevention, those working in frontline service delivery have enhanced their outreach to communities.

UNAIDS reports a growing number of countries are on track to achieve its goals with some approaching, meeting or already exceeding some of those targets. In sub-Saharan Africa, several countries are “approaching or within striking distance” of 90 per cent of those living with HIV being tested.

Canada has an extensive network of health-care professionals, community-based organizations and AIDS service organizations contributing greatly to reducing HIV incidence. But, a new report on HIV infections from the Public Health Agency of Canada illustrates the need to expand the reach and impact of HIV prevention and treatment efforts.

Data gathering of this kind is helpful in identifying where we need to expand our network of testing, treatment and care, but more needs to be done.

We need an invigorated, nation-wide plan designed to ensure we provide all communities with the integrated services they need. We need to set our own goals that address Canada’s realities and put us on the map with other countries that have shown leadership in tackling the epidemic.

While Australia has recently released its seventh HIV strategy targeted to the virtual elimination of HIV by 2020, Canada’s second strategy is outdated, and there are no targets.

It’s time to step up.

Laurie Edmiston is the executive director of CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and hepatitis C information.


Just Posted

Ministry announces highway road work planned for 100 Mile House this spring

Drivers can expect delays and at times single lane, alternating traffic

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

BC Bus North service extended to September

Transportation ministers have extended the service, which was set to expire at the end of May

Annual 100 Mile House Easter Egg Hunt a great success

Around 200 kids showed up to scavenge for chocolate

Woman dies after suffering ‘medical event’ while driving north of Lac la Hache

Initial report was that an older female had driven into the side of a hill, was not responsive

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Canfor temporarily shutting down lumber mills across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment, according to the company

Two in critical condition, several still in hospital after Langley deck collapse

Close relative Satwant Garcha makes daily trips to visit those injured at the wedding

Most Read