Vancouver's treatment as prevention success is also due to harm reduction and addiction treatment (BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS)

“We talk a lot about the success of treatment as prevention in Vancouver, but we always need to make sure people understand that this requires an integration of various approaches,” Dr Evan Wood of the University of British Columbia said in a plenary presentation to the Eighth International AIDS Society Conference (IAS 2015) in Vancouver, Canada, last week.

HIV diagnoses in people who inject drugs have fallen by more than 90% since the peak of the epidemic in 1996. This success has been achieved, Wood said, through a combination of community empowerment, harm reduction, treatment for addictions and universal access to HIV treatment and care. Nonetheless, the criminalisation and marginalisation of people who use drugs remained major obstacles.

“The success of treatment as prevention in injecting drug users in Vancouver has been phenomenal,” his colleague Professor Julio Montaner said in another session. “The reason why it’s working so well is because there is a synergy between the needle exchange, the supervised injection site, the methadone programme and the treatment as prevention.”

Roger Pebody reports.

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