China joins forces with British Columbia to conquer HIV/AIDS
Government of B.C. signs memorandum of understanding between China and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS to St. Paul’s Hospital to support Treatment as Prevention expansion
Vancouver, B.C. (November 26, 2013)—China and British Columbia are partnering to advance the global fight against HIV/AIDS through the further implementation of the made-in-B.C. HIV Test and Treat strategy, also referred to as Treatment as Prevention.
While in Beijing, China, on her government’s current trade mission, Premier Christy Clark signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the National Centre for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCAIDS/China CDC) and the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). The MoU cements the relationship between China and the BC-CfE, which first began when China announced its implementation of the Test and Treat (Treatment as Prevention) strategy in 2011.
“This partnership affirms our government’s commitment to showcase and share the world-leading expertise of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS,” said Premier Clark. “We’re pleased British Columbia’s innovation and research is being recognized internationally, especially here in China. This exchange will allow us to mutually promote and collaborate on health priorities affecting China, British Columbia, and the global community in relation to HIV/AIDS.”
The MoU formalizes a collaboration to develop new research and HIV programs, and will establish a three-year HIV fellowship program that will allow top Chinese scientists to come to Vancouver to work with researchers and clinicians at the BC-CfE.
The organizations will work jointly to respectively improve the health of British Columbians and Chinese citizens to enhance capacity to deliver HIV/AIDS education and training to health professionals. The partnership aims to protect and improve the health of people by eliminating HIV/AIDS through science, policy, partnership, and evidence-based public health action.
“British Columbia has been an international leader in developing a model of the Test and Treat strategy, also referred to as Treatment as Prevention, to combat HIV/AIDS,” said Dr. Zunyou Wu, Director, NCAIDS/China CDC. “This agreement deepens the working relationship between China and B.C. We believe this agreement will provide an opportunity for our researchers to work with and share expertise to best help both B.C. and China meet our goal of bringing HIV and AIDS under control.”
China was the first country to adopt the BC-CfE’s model as their national HIV/AIDS policy. The strategy involves widespread HIV testing and immediate offer of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) to people living with HIV. Treatment has been shown to virtually eliminate progression of the disease to AIDS and premature death, and simultaneously stop transmission of the virus.
The new fellowship will focus on research related to Test and Treat (Treatment as Prevention). In addition to the fellowship, the BC-CfE and NCAIDS/China CDC will develop and implement cost-effective research and therapeutic protocols and programs for the treatment of HIV and related diseases.
“We look forward to working with China to ensure Test and Treat (Treatment as Prevention) is implemented globally based on the best available scientific evidence,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE. “Following the lead of British Columbia and China, the momentum is building to implement this strategy to save lives, prevent infections, and, in the long-term, save money. The global adoption of Test and Treat (Treatment as Prevention) holds the promise of ending HIV and AIDS in our lifetime.”
Brazil and France both recently announced plans to adopt the strategy as their national policies. In 2012, the U.S. identified it as a key strategy to achieve an AIDS-free generation, and in July 2013, the World Health Organization fully incorporated the strategy in their new Global HIV Treatment Guidelines.
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.
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Tiko Kerr, Vancouver Artist and patient of Dr. Julio Montaner