Panama adopts made-in-B.C. HIV Treatment as Prevention strategy
Panama and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS partner to expand Treatment as Prevention;
Momentum builds globally for made-in-B.C. HIV strategy
Vancouver, B.C. [February 20, 2014] - Panama has become the latest country to adopt British
Columbia's HIV Treatment as Prevention strategy.
Panama and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) have signed a memorandum of
understanding (MOU) to partner in the global fight against HIV/AIDS through the implementation of
the made-in-B.C. strategy.
Panama becomes the first Central American country to embrace Treatment as Prevention, and joins
China, France, and Brazil in adopting the strategy as their national HIV/AIDS policy. The strategy has
also been implemented by cities across the United States, including San Francisco, New York City, and
"The momentum continues to build to implement the Treatment as Prevention strategy to save lives,
prevent infections, and, in the long-term, save money," said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE. "I
believe this represents a first step in other countries in Central America and the Caribbean adopting
Treatment as Prevention and moving toward an HIV- and AIDS-free generation."
The Treatment as Prevention strategy involves the widespread offer of HIV testing and immediate offer
and use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to people living with HIV who are medically
eligible and willing. Recently published research from the BC-CfE found the expansion of HIV treatment
in B.C. has led to sustained and profound decreases in morbidity, mortality, and new cases of HIV. This
further demonstrates that the province's Treatment as Prevention strategy should be applied in other
settings around the world. To complement the strategy, B.C. has also supported harm reduction
programs like needle distribution and recovery, which are integral in preventing HIV and hepatitis C,
and engaging vulnerable populations.
"British Columbia has been an international leader in developing a strategy proven to combat HIV and
AIDS," said Dr. Javier Díaz, Panama Minister of Health. "This partnership will assist us in promoting
and collaborating on health priorities affecting the citizens of Panama and the global community in
relation to HIV and AIDS."
The MOU establishes a collaboration to develop new research and HIV programs, and creates an HIV
fellowship program that will allow Panamanian HIV scientists to come to Vancouver to work with BCCfE
researchers and clinicians. The BC-CfE will provide science and support in the development and
evaluation of Panama's Treatment as Prevention program.
"We're excited to see British Columbia's strategy being embraced by the government of Panama," said
Terry Lake, B.C. Minister of Health. "This new partnership speaks to the tremendous work our
government and entire community have done to ensure the Treatment as Prevention strategy is a success
for all people living with or at risk of contracting HIV. Panama will be a model to emulate for other
Central American countries and the Caribbean, and indeed the rest of the world."
Minister Terry Lake speaks
on Panama adoptingTreatment as Prevention strategy
Panama, which has a population of 3.8 million, has an estimated 17,000 people living with HIV.
Comparatively, there are approximately 12,000 people living with HIV in B.C., which has a population of
"HIV and AIDS is a global problem, and we're committed to exchanging science, research, and expertise
to benefit people living with HIV," said Dr. Rolando Barrios, assistant director of the BC-CfE. "We look
forward to working with Panama on the implementation of Treatment as Prevention."
Treatment as Prevention was first endorsed by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS) in 2010. In 2012, the U.S. identified it as a key strategy to achieve an AIDS-free generation,
and in July 2013, the World Health Organization fully incorporated the strategy in their new Global HIV
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.
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B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
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