BC-CfE at St. Paul's Hospital to lead new HIV fellowship program with China

New HIV Treatment as Prevention fellowship will bring B.C. research and innovation to China

Vancouver, B.C. (November 26, 2013)—The made-in-B.C. Treatment as Prevention strategy continues to make huge advances internationally after a new Fellowship program was announced between Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in China and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE).

The new HIV Treatment as Prevention Fellowship will allow top Chinese scientists to come to Vancouver to work with researchers and clinicians at the BC-CfE.

I’m very excited to further our work with China to ensure Treatment as Prevention is optimally implemented based on the best available scientific evidence,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE. “This strategy holds the promise of ending HIV and AIDS in our lifetime.”

China was the first country to adopt the BC-CfE’s Treatment as Prevention model as their national HIV/AIDS policy in February 2011. The new Fellowship further cements the implementation of the strategy in China, where UNAIDS estimates there are more than 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS and approximately 26,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. The fellowship program will be offered for up to six Chinese scientists over three years. Funding for the Fellowship is supported by Genome BC, St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, and Rennie Marketing Systems.

Under the leadership of Dr. Julio Montaner, the BC-CfE has established itself as a world leader in cutting-edge HIV treatment and care,” said Dr. Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC. “This new HIV Treatment as Prevention Fellowship is a tremendous opportunity to take that knowledge and share it with the world.”

Added Bob Rennie, owner of Rennie Marketing Systems: “The BC-CfE has established a blueprint for the eventual elimination of HIV and AIDS. Just imagine, this all started right here in Vancouver. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this strategy could now be transferred to viral hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases?”

The Treatment as Prevention strategy involves widespread HIV testing and immediate offer of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to people living with HIV. Early and sustained treatment has been shown to virtually eliminate progression of the disease to AIDS and premature death, and simultaneously stop transmission of the virus.

As the first jurisdiction to implement Treatment as Prevention, B.C. has seen HIV-related morbidity and mortality decline by over 90 per cent since 1995. Over the same time period, the number of new HIV diagnoses has fallen from more than 800 per year in 1995 to 238 in 2012.

Treatment as Prevention has proven to be the best weapon in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and the world is taking notice,” said Dick Vollet, President and CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation. “I look forward to having Chinese researchers here at St. Paul’s Hospital, learning from the world’s very best.”

The Fellowship is part of the newly signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the BC-CfE and National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCAIDS/China CDC). Premier Christy Clark signed the MoU along with Dr. Montaner during her trade mission to Beijing, China.

About the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility and is internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. BC-CfE is based at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key provincial stakeholders, including health authorities, health care providers, academics from other institutions, and the community to decrease the health burden of HIV and AIDS. By developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related illnesses, the BC-CfE helps improve the health of British Columbians living with HIV.

About the University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is one of North America’s largest public research and teaching institutions, and one of only two Canadian institutions consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities. Surrounded by the beauty of the Canadian West, it is a place that inspires bold, new ways of thinking that have helped make it a national leader in areas as diverse as community service learning, sustainability and research commercialization. UBC offers more than 55,000 students a range of innovative programs and attracts $550 million per year in research funding from government, non-profit organizations and industry through 7,000 grants.

For additional information or to request interviews, please contact:

Kevin Hollett
BC-CfE
Phone: 604-682-2344 ext. 66536
Mobile: 778-848-3420
Email: khollett@cfenet.ubc.ca