Vancouver Coastal Health & Providence Health Care aim to change the course of "HIVstory"
July 18, 2011 - VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Coastal Health and
Providence Health Care unveiled a bold new campaign today to stop HIV in
Vancouver. CHANGE HIVSTORY makes Vancouver the epicentre of a movement that will change history: the beginning of the end of HIV.
Building on the momentum of It's Different Now, an HIV awareness
campaign that helped increase testing rates in Vancouver by 37%, CHANGE HIVSTORY aims
to inspire and empower people via a social media campaign featuring a moving and dramatic video. The campaign enables individuals to power
the movement, by encouraging every person who's ever been sexually active to have an HIV test.
"We already made history in June when St. Paul's Hospital was the first emergency department in Canada to offer routine
HIV testing to every patient," says Scott Harrison, Program Director, Urban Health, HIV/AIDS, at Providence Health Care. "Now,
we want to change history on a local and global level, and finally put an end to HIV. Forty per cent of people infected with HIV in
Vancouver are diagnosed late with advanced HIV disease. By diagnosing people earlier, we can link them to treatment sooner,
ensuring optimal health outcomes for infected individuals and greatly reducing the likelihood of transmission to those not infected."
"CHANGE HIVSTORY is about creating a movement here in Vancouver to change the course of history by changing the course of
HIV," says Dr. Réka Gustafson, Medical Health Officer and Medical Director of Communicable Disease Control for Vancouver
Coastal Health. "And with people in Vancouver requesting HIV tests and doctors recommending them as part of everyone's
routine health care, we are getting closer to making the end of HIV a reality."
HIV expert and Director of BC's Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) at St. Paul's Hospital,
Dr. Julio Montaner, says that stopping HIV in its tracks is possible, especially since Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART)
treatment is available to all B.C. residents for free.
"The work we have undertaken at BC-CfE for the past 20 years has helped dramatically improve HIV treatment and
proven, without doubt, that HAART is highly effective in preventing the transmission of HIV between people," said
Dr. Montaner. "And if we can stop the transmission, we can stop the disease. The world agrees, this is the way
forward - changing history is this simple."
An HIV positive person on their prescribed medication is 96 per cent less likely to transmit the disease. It is
estimated there are 3,500 people in British Columbia who are infected with HIV but don’t know it.
The campaign also features print advertising and TV and radio commercials, developed by FCV, a Vancouver-based interactive,
digital advertising agency. To learn more, visit www.itsdifferentnow.org. Local
media outlets have generously donated more than $500,000 of free ad space and air time, to help spread awareness.
The CHANGE HIVSTORY campaign is a part of BC-CfE pioneered Treatment as Prevention strategy of which STOP HIV/AIDS
(Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS) is one component. STOP HIV/AIDS is a four-year, $48-million pilot program
funded by the British Columbia Ministry of Health to improve access to HIV testing, treatment, and support services in
Vancouver and Prince George.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is responsible for the delivery of $2.9 billion in community, hospital and residential
care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky
corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 16 health care
facilities in Greater Vancouver. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province, performs cutting-edge
research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six "populations of emphasis": cardio-pulmonary
risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health and is home to
the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS 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, 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 and to improve the
health of British Columbians living with HIV through developing, monitoring and disseminating
comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related illnesses.
Public Affairs Specialist Vancouver Coastal Health
Senior Media Relations Specialist Providence Health Care
Phone: 604-682-2344 ext. 66987
Speakers at the campaign launch included:
Dianne Doyle, President and Chief Executive Officer of Providence Health Care,
Dr. Réka Gustafson, Medical Health Officer & Director of Communicable Disease Control, Vancouver Coastal Health,
Dr. Julio Montaner, Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital; Professor of Medicine, Chair in AIDS Research and Head of Division of AIDS, University of British Columbia, Founding National Co-Director, CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network; Past-President, International AIDS Society
and Scott Harrison, Program Director Urban Health, HIV/AIDS, Providence Health Care President Elect, Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care - Adjunct Professor of Nursing, UBC.
Speaker bios (in order of appearance)
Dianne Doyle President and Chief Executive Officer, Providence Health Care
Dianne Doyle is Chief Executive Officer, Providence Health Care, one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations. Dianne brings to the role more than 25 years of senior executive experience in health care. She is respected as a values-driven leader committed to fostering and strengthening her organization's culture as the key factor for improved innovation, staff engagement, patient/resident outcomes and organizatioal excellence. In 2007 and 2008, the Women's Executive Network named Dianne as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in the Public Sector.
Dr. Réka Gustafson Medical Health Officer & Director of Communications Disease Control, VCH
Dr. Gustafson is a Medical Health Oficer and Medical Director of Communicable Disease Control for Vancouver Coastal Health and is an Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. She is involved in surveillance, prevention and control of communicable diseases and outbreak investigation and management.
Dr. Julio Montaner Director of the British Columbian Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Director of IDC and Physician Program Director for HIV/AIDS PHC
Past President of the International AIDS Society and recognized as one of the top AIDS researchers in the world, Dr. Montaner helped create a triple drug therapy that is the "gold standard" treatment for HIV. Based at Vancouver's St. Paul's Hospital, his recent research has been primarily forcused on the implementation of the Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) initiative, which seeks to drastically decrease HIV-related morbidity and mortality in British Columbia.
Scott RN BScN MA CCHN(C) Program Director, Urban Health & HIV/AIDS, Providence Health Care
Currently the Director, or Urban & HIV/AIDS with Providence Health Care, and the President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, Scott has spent over 20 years of clinical practice forcused on vulnerable and marginalized communites. Scott has received numerous awards, including the College of Registered Nureses of BC Advocacy Award this year, for his continual advocacy for people living with HIV/AIDS.
"Reproduced with permission - "Vancouver Coastal Health"