Dr. Julio Montaner, director at BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, in Vancouver June 26. (BC-CFE/Twitter)

B.C. Health

HIV-prevention drug used by 2,000 B.C. patients since becoming fully-funded

Pre-exposure prophylaxis – also known as PrEP – was made available at no cost on Jan. 1, 2018

More than 2,000 people with HIV or at high risk of infection have accessed a potentially life-saving medication since it was placed under PharmaCare coverage earlier this year.

That’s according to Health Minister Adrian Dix, who celebrated the milestone in Vancouver Tuesday, alongside the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis – also known as PrEP – was made available at no cost on Jan. 1, after the daily use of the oral antiretroviral medication was recommended by the World Health Organization and B.C. healthcare officials as an effective method to prevent HIV in people at risk of infection.

Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the centre, said that when the PrEP program reaches 5,ooo patients, researchers believe that will translate to an 83 per cent reduction of new HIV cases as early as 2026.

WATCH: Sexually transmitted infections up, HIV down in B.C.

READ MORE: Battle to beat AIDS offers lessons in fighting opioid crisis

Montaner is the doctor behind the lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy called HAART, and for most of his career has stood at the forefront of HIV treatment innovation.

Since the introduction of HAART in 1996, Montaner said new cases of HIV decreased from 900 new cases to 200.

“But that is still 200 cases too many,” he said.

About 73 per cent of those accessing the centre’s drug therapy program are in the Greater Vancouver area, but Montaner said the medication has reached all corners of the province.

“Ultimately, the goal of a strong public-health strategy is a reduction in disease, alongside long-term health-care sustainability,” he said.

“If we can curb HIV, imagine the global leadership B.C. can show in tackling other communicable diseases through expanding access to testing, treatment and prevention.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Man who sexually assaulted teen in Abbotsford is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

Nominations wanted for Langley moms in need

The Mama Coach launched the 2nd annual Christmas for Mamas Giveback campaign.

VIDEO: Man killed in shooting at Abbotsford bank

Police believe incident on Thursday night to be targeted

Langley Township council hopefuls take part in Q&A

A Voter’s Guide to key election questions.

Vaudeville keeps senior actors young, active

The Vaudevillians ready to storm the stage with ‘As Time Goes By’

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean “Blob” returns to North Coast of B.C.

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Pot sales down by nearly 70% on Day 2 of legalization in B.C.

Several products on BC Cannabis Store are still sold out

B.C. jury finds man guilty of Japanese exchange student’s murder

Natsumi Kogawa was found at empty heritage mansion shortly after she was reported missing in 2016

B.C. man accused of killing Belgian tourist along Highway 1 appears in court

Sean McKenzie, 27, made second court appearance since his arrest in connection with the murder of Amelie Sakkalis

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of B.C. girl

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Most Read