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British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS -

Brazil to adopt B.C.'s Treatment as Prevention strategy as country's national HIV/AIDS policy

Momentum builds globally for HIV strategy pioneered by BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

Vancouver, B.C. [October 17, 2013] - Brazil has announced plans to adopt the Treatment as Prevention (TasP) strategy to combat HIV and AIDS, becoming the latest country to implement the strategy pioneered by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE).

Brazil joins France as the second country this month to announce plans to adopt TasP, which involves widespread HIV testing and immediate offer of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to people living with HIV. Treatment has been shown to virtually eliminate progression of the disease to AIDS and premature death, and simultaneously stop transmission of the virus.

The strategy was first introduced by the BC-CfE in 2006, and endorsed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in 2010. China became the first nation to embrace the strategy in 2011, and the U.S. identified TasP as a key strategy to achieve an AIDS-free generation in 2012. In July 2013, the World Health Organization fully incorporated TasP in their new Global HIV Treatment Guidelines.

"The momentum is increasing to implement this strategy proven to save lives and prevent HIV transmission," said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE. "We applaud Brazil's leadership, and eagerly await similar announcements from other countries. The global adoption of Treatment as Prevention holds the promise of ending HIV and AIDS in our lifetime."

With the support of the provincial government, British Columbia was the first jurisdiction to implement TasP. As a result, and with simultaneous scale up of harm reduction efforts, including needle distribution, opioid substitution treatment, and supervised injection services, B.C. has seen HIV-related morbidity and mortality decline by over 90 per cent since 1995.. Over the same time period, the number of new HIV diagnoses has fallen from more than 800 per year in 1995 to 238 in 2012. B.C. remains the only province in Canada to implement TasP and demonstrate a consistent decline in new cases of HIV.

"We're pleased this groundbreaking, made-in-B.C. strategy developed by Dr. Montaner and his team, and implemented here in British Columbia, is being embraced around the world," said Terry Lake, B.C.'s Minister of Health. "Our government is committed to reducing the spread of HIV and improving the lives of those living with HIV. That other governments share our vision for an AIDS-free generation is a testament to the success of TasP."

In Brazil, the country's Ministry of Health expects the expansion of treatment will lead to at least 100,000 new people living with HIV gaining access to HAART. Currently, there are 313,000 people receiving treatment in Brazil.

"Implementing Treatment as Prevention is critical to our ability to control the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Brazil," said Fábio Mesquita, director of the STD, AIDS and HIV Department of Brazil's Ministry of Health. "We believe this strategy is the model for care and prevention that will best help bring this disease to its knees."

Officials from Brazil are expected to present at Vancouver's 4th annual International HIV Treatment as Prevention Workshop. This year's workshop will take place from April 1-4, 2014.


Source:British Columbia Centre For Excellence in HIV/AIDS

About the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS:

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada's largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility and is internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. BC-CfE is based at St. Paul's Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key provincial stakeholders, including health authorities, health care providers, academics from other institutions, and the community to decrease the health burden of HIV and AIDS. By developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related illnesses, the BC-CfE helps improve the health of British Columbians living with HIV.

About the University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America's largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world's 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization. UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

Reproduced with permission - "B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS"

B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

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