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

Third cannabis store in Greater Trail opens next week

The City of Trail has had six applications from non-medical pot retailers to date

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

How the Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure affected you

Here’s what readers had to say about the company’s shutdown

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

West Kootenay U16 Rebels take home provincial gold

West Kootenay Rebels fastball team battle hard to win the BC U16C Fastball Championship

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read