From Hope to Health:
Towards an AIDS-free Generation
MORE THAN 25 YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE CANADIANS FIRST BEGAN DYING OF AIDS; many have lost friends, family and
loved ones. As we continue to honour and remember those who have died, few could imagine the immense progress made in the last two decades
in our ability to prevent and treat disease. We have reached and exciting tipping point in response to HIV.
Years of dedication by countless individuals have led to significant strides in HIV prevention, testing, care and treatment.
These advances have created an environment where no more British Columbians have to contract HIV or die of AIDS; and AIDS-free generation
is now possible. In B.C., an AIDS free generation would mean no more children are born with the virus; as these children become
teenagers and adults, they will be at far lower risk of becoming infected than they are today, thanks to a wide range of
prevention tools. And if they do acquire HIV, they are diagnosed early through regualar testing offers, and are promptly
offered treatment to prevent them from passing the virus.
British Columbia has long been at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Over the last 20 years, B.C. has spearheaded
community responses and medical advances, and currently has a world-leading system of prevention and care. However, British Columbians
continue to die unnecessarily of AIDS each year, while others remain unaware they are living with the virus.
Since 2009, a lot has been learned from HIV Treatment as Prevention and B.C.'s Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention
of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) pilot in Vancouver and Prince George. During the pilot, more people have been offered and accepted an
HIV test, more people previously unaware of their infection have a diagnosis, and more of those medically eleigible have decided
to start treatment. As the STOP HIV/AIDS pilot concludeds, there is an opportunity to implement innovative approaches and
lessons learned across all of B.C. The science of prevention and treating new infections is clear; now social and health
system change is needed to support all those living with the virus and to ensure no one dies of AIDS. It is time for
all of us to achieve this historic milestone: an AIDS-free geneeration.
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