Canada: Vancouver Island Health Authority Targets $1.5 Million to Halve HIV/AIDS, Hep C
August 3, 2006
Toward the goal of reducing HIV and hepatitis C infection rates by 50 percent in the coming three years, the Vancouver Island Health Authority will distribute $1.5 million Canadian ($1.3 million US) to community health programs. Specifically, VIHA is looking to support services and programs that target intravenous drug users (IDUs).
A two-year consultation process that included people with HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C patients, correctional services, community groups and First Nations representatives resulted in the recently released report "Closing the Gap: Integrated HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C Strategic Directions." Dirty needles were found to be the cause of most of Vancouver Island's 47 new HIV cases and 538 new hepatitis C infections in 2005.
In the new initiative, VIHA will look at agencies that provide testing, education, outreach and needle exchange services. The agency has issued its first request for proposals from nonprofit and private sector organizations. Proposals are due Sept. 28; contracts will be in place by February and will run through March 2009.
Dr. Mark Gilbert, medical health officer at VIHA, confirmed that the funding includes a safe injection site for IDUs. A study by the city of Victoria examining options for a supervised injection site will take four to six months to complete.
08.02.06; Andrea Lavigne
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.