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

Nanaimo Airport set to welcome 8 charter planes for BC Summer Games

Hundreds of athletes and support officials from around the province will arrive… Continue reading

Large suspected ammo found at Cassidy recycling facility

Area businesses voluntarily evacuated

BC Games marks 40 years in 2018

Cowichan Games a milestone for BC Games Society

Campfire ban coming into effect across West Coast

The Coastal Fire Centre says bans will begin on Wednesday

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Hells Angels celebrating 35th anniversary party on Vancouver Island

Additional police resources will be in Nanaimo this weekend as roughly 300 members and hang arounds are expected

New campaign aims to tide food waste at home

About 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is discarded in Canada every year

B.C. couple reunited with dog three years after disappearance

A purebred Pomeranian is back with his parents, likely after years in a puppy mill.

BC Nurses Union calls for decriminalization of opioids

BCNU president wants the federal government to do more to reduce preventable deaths

Kitten OK after being rescued from underground pipe in B.C.

An adventurous feline has been rescued after getting trapped in an underground pipe in Kamloops, B.C.

A day after back-tracking, Trump defends summit performance

Amid bipartisan condemnation of his embrace of a longtime U.S. enemy, Trump at first sought to end 27 hours of recrimination by delivering a rare admission of error Tuesday.

Thai soccer players rescued from cave meet the media

Members of the Thai youth soccer team who were trapped in a cave have left the hospital where they have been treated since their rescue.

Elon Musk apologizes for calling cave rescue diver a ‘pedo’

Musk called a British diver involved in the Thailand cave rescue a pedophile to his 22.3 million Twitter followers on July 15.

Most Read