AIDS Expert Says Canada Needs to Show Dedication to Fight Against AIDS
July 19, 2012
Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, called Monday for Canadian federal and provincial governments to sign the official declaration of the upcoming International AIDS Conference (IAC). Organizers of the conference, which takes place next week in Washington, want to stop the epidemic through a nine-point plan, including access to antiretroviral treatment and ending AIDS discrimination and stigma.
In an open letter to Canada's political leaders, Montaner wrote: "To curb HIV and reach the promise of an AIDS-free generation, we must ramp up and fully roll out treatment as prevention in Canada and around the world."
In an interview, Montaner pointed to successes on Canada's west coast, where HIV prevention has focused on harm-reduction and education. Statistics show that new AIDS diagnoses are down by more than 85 percent in British Columbia from the peak year of 1996. But Montaner also noted other parts of Canada, particularly Saskatchewan, have seen an increase in HIV/AIDS rates.
A written response to Montaner's request from Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq's office said the declaration would be reviewed "in due course." The e-mail noted that the government is providing "record amounts of funding" to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS, and it says the government helped make AIDS in aboriginal populations an IAC topic "for the first time ever."
"You can prevent death, you can prevent morbidity, and you can stop transmission," Montaner said. "You can deliver on an AIDS-free generation. All you need to do is implement what we already know and we get it done within your political term."
07.16.2012; Jeremy Nuttall
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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