A new study shows BC has been increasingly successful at identifying and engaging HIV-positive individuals into treatment following the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1996.
The study, entitled “The cascade of HIV care in British Columbia, Canada, 1996–2011: A population-based retrospective cohort study,” was published in September in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Researchers analyzed engagement with the cascade of HIV care in British Columbia and found improvements at each stage, indicating that meaningful progress has been made in controlling the epidemic. However, the study also shows that further efforts are needed to maximize the beneficial effects of available interventions to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The Treatment as Prevention initiative involves widespread HIV testing and immediate provision of HAART to medically eligible people with HIV. The cascade of care involves eight stages: HIV infected, diagnosed, linked to HIV care, retained in HIV care, in need of treatment, receiving treatment, adherent to treatment, and virologically suppressed.
BC is the only province to implement Treatment as Prevention and the only province where the government provides HAART to all HIV-infected individuals. In 2009, the BC government invested in the BC-CfE-led Seek and Treat for Optimal Prevention of HIV/AIDS (STOP HIV/AIDS) pilot project in Prince George and Vancouver to expand HIV testing and treatment. The Treatment as Prevention initiative was expanded province-wide 1 April 2013.
The paper can be viewed at www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(13)70254-8/abstract.
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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