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

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 6: Preview

Look ahead to all the action scheduled for Feb. 16 at the All Native Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 4: Recap

Results and highlights from day 4 at the 2019 All Native Basketball Tournament

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 3: Recap

Highlights from around Day 3 of the tournament

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read