How routine testing can help end AIDS (Dr. Julio Montaner)

An older gentleman comes to visit the hospital complaining of a number of symptoms. While he doesn’t fit the typical risk factors for HIV, he is given a routine test that reveals he is HIV-positive. When his wife is later tested, she is also shown to be HIV-positive.

Similar situations are happening in a number of B.C. hospitals where routine HIV testing has been offered since 2012 to patients (between the ages of 18 and 70 who receive blood work). As of 2015, thousands of such tests have been administered, representing 18 per cent of all admissions, and 73 new HIV cases found. Routine HIV testing, if expanded across Canada, can help to identify and treat new HIV cases in an effort to eliminate new HIV infections.

While HIV is no longer portrayed in the media as the deadly threat of the 1980s and 90s, Canadian regions are seeking spikes. Per-capita rates insome areas in the Prairies are edging toward those seen in sub-Saharan Africa. To put this into perspective, there has been broad media coverage of the Zika virus while few cases have been seen in North America.

Dr. Julio Montaner writes

Read the full letter here