Nurse Claire Madill prepares to take blood samples for HIV testing from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall

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

BC outreach strategy saves lives, reduces transmission in communities, and has been adopted by the UN's global AIDS program

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.

 

Just Posted

Algae bloom at Elk Lake prompts CRD advisory notice

Reappearance of blue-green algae lethal to dogs a constant concern for water quality

B.C. historian helped Viola Desmond make it on the $10 bill

Merna Forster of Oak Bay petitioned for years for a Canadian woman to be honoured on currency

Third rink needed immediately at Pearkes, say users

Only four ice pads for Saanich, Victoria groups

City of Victoria looks for emergency shelter options amidst bed shortage

My Place considered for tier-2 shelter during harsh weather

Vikes ready for Queen’s in Game 1 of national men’s rugby championship

From mid-terms to national championships, it’s a rugby life

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Good Food Summit plants seeds for food security

The Good Food Summit runs Nov. 22 and 23

POLL: Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

The Christmas lights are twinkling and holiday music is playing in local… Continue reading

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read