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Queensland TASP

Queensland to adopt British Columbia Treatment as Prevention Strategy

BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS signs memorandum of understanding with the Queensland Government

July 23, 2014 - The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the Government of Queensland (Queensland Department of Health) and the HIV Foundation Queensland (HIVFQ) are entering into an agreement through a memorandum of understanding, signed at the 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia. The partnership formalizes a collaboration aimed at supporting HIV positive individuals and at risk populations in Queensland and British Columbia. Queensland will formally adopt the made-in-BC HIV Treatment as Prevention (TasP) strategy, pioneered by the BC-CfE.

"We are very excited to be collaborating with Queensland, and implementing our made-in-BC Treatment as Prevention strategy," says Dr. Julio Montaner, director, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, chair of AIDS Research and head of Division of AIDS at UBC Faculty of Medicine. "This model is based on scientific evidence. We know from the success we've had with Treatment as Prevention, it holds the promise of eliminating HIV and AIDS in our lifetime."

Queensland is the latest international jurisdiction to implement TasP. Panama, China, France, Spain and Brazil have already signed on, and US cities including New York, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. are adopting the Treatment as Prevention model.

The Treatment as Prevention strategy involves widespread HIV testing and immediate offer of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to medically eligible individuals. Early engagement and sustained treatment has been shown to virtually eliminate progression of the disease to AIDS and premature death, and simultaneously stop transmission of the virus. Dr. Montaner formally introduced TasP in 2006 at the Toronto IAS AIDS conference and BC has virtually eliminated AIDS and markedly decreased the spread of new HIV infections. The BC strategy has been so successful, the province's dedicated HIV/AIDS Ward, which opened in 1997 at St. Paul's hospital in Vancouver, was recently reprofiled because new cases of AIDS have declined significantly.

Queensland Minister for Health, Lawrence Springborg, said the partnership signified a milestone for HIV in Queensland that would deliver many positive outcomes. He said, "Queensland is the first Australian jurisdiction to enter into such a partnership to develop an HIV Treatment as Prevention strategy with leading international experts.

"This provides Queensland with the opportunity to lead the development, implementation and evaluation of TasP in Australia. We believe this will have significant impacts on national and international efforts working towards the virtual elimination of HIV."

The BC-CfE and its Queensland partners will work jointly to respectively improve the health of British Columbians and Queenslanders through sharing cost-effective research, therapeutic protocols and tools, and programs for the treatment of HIV and AIDS. The partnership aims to protect and improve the health of people by eliminating HIV/AIDS through science, policy, partnership, and evidence-based public health action.

"The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is recognized around the world as a leader in research and innovation," says Health Minster Terry Lake. "HIV/AIDS is a global problem, and we are committed to sharing our expertise. This exchange allows us to promote and collaborate on health priorities affecting Queensland, British Columbia, and the global community in relation to HIV/AIDS."


About the British Columbia 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.

For additional information or to request interviews, please contact:

Thomas Hamilton - Edelman Melbourne
+61 (0)3 9944 7628
+61 (0)4 1778 5126

Bridgitte Anderson - Edelman Vancouver


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