Dr. Julio Montaner at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS in Vancouver.

HIV-AIDS rates among injection drug users in B.C. have dropped by 50 per cent, according to B.C. foremost expert on the issue.   

Dr. Julio Montaner, of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said that in 1996 there were approximately 800 new HIV diagnoses in B.C.

Currently, there are approximately 350 HIV diagnoses per year.

“This is a big decrease in HIV that has not been seen elsewhere in the country,” said Montaner.
Montaner claims one of the main reasons for the decrease is because more HIV patients are seeking treatment.

“We have advocated that treatment for HIV is not only life-saving and life-prolonging, and it’s not only preventing disease progression, but it dramatically decreases the likelihood of HIV transmission,” said Montaner.

Studies done by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS show that the likelihood of transmitting the disease can be decreased by 90 per cent if the individual receives the proper treatment.

Montaner encourages people who have been sexually active to take an HIV test.

“We want this to be a provincewide priority.”

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