Editorial: B.C. exemplary in AIDS fight (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

British Columbia’s record of combating AIDS has been recognized internationally, and its policies are being adopted by countries around the world, but not by the Canadian government. Ottawa should create and implement national strategies on HIV/AIDS, using B.C.’s policies as a template.

The fight against the virus is spearheaded by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. When the centre was opened in 1992, B.C. had the worst AIDS rate in the country — a B.C. resident was dying from the disease almost every day. Now, B.C.’s infection rate is far below the national average.

That’s the result of B.C.’s aggressive Treatment as Prevention policy, pioneered by the centre’s director, Dr. Julio Montaner. HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) costs $15,000 per patient per year, but it’s free to B.C. patients, at a cost of $100 million a year. That seems like a large sum, but the cost to society, financially and otherwise, would be much higher without the treatment.

Times Colonist reports.

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