Nurse Claire Madill prepares to take blood samples for HIV testing from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall

HIV tests to be offered to all B.C. adults

BC outreach strategy saves lives, reduces transmission in communities, and has been adopted by the UN's global AIDS program

VICTORIA – Routine HIV-AIDS testing is being offered once every five years to all B.C. residents aged 18-70, building on infection control efforts that have been recognized around the world in reducing disease transmission and death.

B.C.’s “Treatment as Prevention” strategy has proven so effective in pilot programs in Vancouver and Prince George that the government is extending its outreach efforts across the province. Routine testing of pregnant women has all but eliminated mother-child transmission, and anti-viral therapies have cut the death toll of AIDS by 90% since 1996.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said going beyond identified risk groups has proven effective in finding infected people in time to provide effective drug treatment. The treatment not only extends life to nearly normal lifespan, it also prevents most transmission of the virus once the patient is being treated.

“These guidelines hold the promise that by expanding HIV testing as we have done, we will be taking another great step towards potentially eliminating HIV in the province of British Columbia,” Kendall said.

Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV-AIDS, said the United Nations continues to use B.C. as a model for its global effort to eliminate the disease.

“Back in 1995 we used to have one person or more dying per day at St. Paul’s Hospital alone, every year because of HIV and AIDS,” Montaner said. “Today, my [physician] residents don’t know what that looks like. We virtually have eliminated death from HIV.”

Health Minister Terry Lake said the program is funded with $19.9 million a year, and is recognized as an investment in prevention that saves the province money as well as improving individual well-being for patients.

Information for health care providers on the new testing guidelines is available at a new website.

Doctors will continue to offer HIV-AIDS tests to patients of any age who present with new or worsening medical conditions that require lab tests, show symptoms of HIV infection, are pregnant or if they request an HIV test.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon gallery hosts Art After Dark

Event hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery Friday, Feb. 28

Vernon tennis player named Best of BC winner

Sport BC honours Vasek Pospisil for his comeback season after back surgery

Vernon golf course sinks construction on new clubhouse

Owners at The Rise are in a dispute with City of Vernon over tax assessment

Coaches take on players to honour Vernon volleyball player

Vernon Sky Club hosting event with proceeds to the Emily Dahl Foundation

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Fire crews battle large blaze in West Kelowna

Reports of multiple structures on fire in the Colleen Road area

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Kelowna man charged after naked driver leads RCMP on hit-and-run spree

A Kelowna man has been charged with numerous offences

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read