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BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS: First Academic Division of AIDS opens in Canada

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS partners with the University of British Columbia in the fight against HIV/AIDS


VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Oct. 24, 2007 - The University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Medicine has established Canada's first Division of AIDS (DAIDS) based at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Providence Health Care. DAIDS will attract and retain staff with the wide range of expertise needed to continue HIV/AIDS clinical care, scientific research and training. The new division is also intended to provide an academic home for researchers within the Centre, as well as other UBC affiliated institutions.

"The establishment of DAIDS recognizes both the complexities brought upon by HIV and AIDS, as well as the unique contributions made by UBC based researchers and educators over the years," says Centre director and newly appointed head of the DAIDS, Dr. Julio Montaner. "HIV/AIDS is a rapidly evolving field of medicine that requires a very specific set of skills and dedication. The formal acknowledgement of HIV/AIDS as an academic discipline within the UBC-Department of Medicine will open the door for new generations of physicians and scientists to focus their careers on this important field."

DAIDS will work collaboratively within the Department of Medicine at UBC. The division's key areas of involvement include: epidemiology, basic science, clinical science, prevention, integrated primary and specialty care, urban health and international health. The newly created Division will bring together more then 40 faculty and staff members, with plans to grow as it attracts additional academics.

Montaner was chosen as the new DAIDS head as a result of his vast knowledge and experience in HIV research and treatment, and his ability to shape modern treatment regimens that assist health care professionals to better manage the disease. Montaner is considered one of the world's outstanding clinical investigators in the field of HIV/AIDS. He is currently the president-elect of the International AIDS Society. Montaner has also been named the B.C. Innovation Council's 2007 B.C. Science and Technology Champion of the Year Award.

"Dr. Montaner's work has revolutionized patient care in the province of British Columbia," says UBC president Stephen Toope. "We are all grateful for his significant contributions to the global fight against HIV/AIDS."

In the last 20 years - particularly during the last decade - HIV/AIDS has become the fastest growing field of medicine in terms of research, therapy and service delivery methods, explains Montaner. UBC is the first academic institution in Canada to establish a Division of AIDS.

Approximately 13,000 HIV-positive men and women live in B.C., with 56,000 in total across Canada. While B.C. has the third highest number of persons living with HIV after Ontario and Quebec, the province has the highest per capita rate of HIV infection in Canada. Health economists estimate it will cost approximately $250,000 to treat and care for each of these HIV-infected Canadians over their lifetime. At this rate, it will cost nearly $2 to $4 billion to treat and care for all persons infected with HIV living in B.C. More than $58 million was spent on antiretroviral therapy alone in B.C. in the last fiscal year.

Key partners to DAIDS include the Centre, as well as the HIV Program at Providence Healthcare, AIDS Ward at St. Paul's Hospital, John Ruedy Immunodefiency Clinic (IDC) and AIDS Research Program within the Department of Medicine at UBC.

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

Founded in 1992 at St. Paul's Hospital by the provincial Ministry of Health, the
B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is a key provincial resource. The mandate of the centre is to improve the health of people with HIV through the development, ongoing monitoring and dissemination of comprehensive investigative and treatment programs for HIV and related diseases. St. Paul's Hospital is one of seven care facilities operated by Providence Health Care, Canada's largest faith-based health care organization.

For interview requests or further information relating to the Centre and its ongoing research in HIV/AIDS, please contact:
Stephen Burega, Media Relations,

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

B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS


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