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Canada's British Columbia to Expand Anti-HIV Program
Source: globaltimes.cn
Source Date: Saturday, December 01, 2012
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Canada
Created: Dec 03, 2012

Canada's British Columbia Province announced here Friday it was allocating 19.9 million Canadian dollars ($20.01million) each year to expand a pilot program to reduce HIV spreading.

Speaking on the eve of World AIDS Day, B.C. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said since moving to a "preemptive" treatment as prevention strategy to combat HIV/AIDS, HIV-related deaths in the province had plunged 90 percent since 1996.

Also, new HIV infections per year in the province had dropped from 900 in the mid 1990s to 289 in 2011, said MacDiarmid.

"This is a great investment. There's funding here that's going to go to every health authority and it's going to take what's been an incredibly successful pilot project out through the whole province," said MacDiarmid.

"I think what's really clear though is that this (program) needs to go across Canada," MacDiarmid said.

The pilot program started in 2009, with the B.C. Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS headed by Dr. Julio Montaner leading the way. The treatment includes identifying more people with HIV/AIDS through widespread testing and providing them with anti-HIV drugs known as Highly Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART).

Through the treatment, Montaner believes, an infected person can expect to live "near-normal longevity" provided he or she engages in the HAART drug cocktail treatment from an early stage.

In addition, he said, not only will quality of life be preserved, a person's reproductive life will be normalized. Last year, zero new infections were recorded among children born to mothers infected with HIV in the province.

The same treatments can be executed in the developing world, he added.
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