Canada: New HIV and Hepatitis C Treatment Center Opens

A clinic focusing on patients co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C is opening in Waterloo, about 70 miles southwest of Toronto.

"We want to be able to provide those people with the opportunity to get care here," said Dr. Chris Steingart, director of the Sanguen Health Center and a specialist in HIV and hepatitis C.

The Waterloo office is supported by Sanguen and the Masai Center in Guelph, about 20 miles away. In addition to Steingart, staff will include Dr. Ann-Marie Zajdlik, head of the Masai Center, and Cambridge physician Keith Hankinson. The official opening is Jan. 26, though physicians already are seeing patients at the new site.

The Waterloo clinic will follow the multidisciplinary approach of the Masai Center, where medical care is supplemented with education, counseling and nutritional advice.

The Masai Center was the first in the region to partner with the local AIDS committee to care for those with HIV. The Waterloo office has established links with AIDS Committee of Cambridge, Kitchener, and Waterloo.

The Waterloo region has about 500 HIV patients and 3,500 to 4,500 with hepatitis C. About one-third of those with hepatitis C are unaware they have the disease, Steingart said.