Vancouver Doctor Becomes President of International AIDS Organization

Vancouver, August 6, 2008 — Dr. Julio Montaner, Director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, part of Providence Health Care, has been appointed president of the world's leading independent association of HIV/AIDS professionals.

Montaner, who is also Professor of Medicine, Chair of AIDS Research and Head of the Division of AIDS at the University of British Columbia, will assume the prestigious position of President of the International AIDS Society (IAS) at the conclusion of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, on Friday, August 8th, 2008. His role as President will be a two-year term and following that, he will have the position of Past President for two years.
“I would like to congratulate Dr. Montaner on his appointment as President of the largest HIV organization in the world,” said B.C.'s Minister of Healthy Living and Sport, Mary Polak. “With more than 10,000 members from 185 countries the International AIDS Society will benefit greatly from Dr. Montaner's leadership, knowledge and expertise. Dr. Montaner's work has helped positioned B.C. as a world leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and his appointment will only strengthen B.C.'s position on the world stage.”

Dianne Doyle, President and CEO of Providence Health Care says Montaner’s appointment is recognition of his leadership and the Centre's and Providence Health Care’s growing reputation as a world leader in HIV/AIDS clinical care and research. “Under Julio’s leadership we have come a long way,” said Doyle. “From being one of the first hospitals in Canada to treat HIV/AIDS patients in the early eighties – to today being one of the world's leading clinical and research centres for this disease, providing care to more than 65 per cent of the HIV/AIDS infected people in the province.”

As president of IAS, Montaner will actively promote the role of the Society as an outstanding worldwide force of committed professionals working together to prevent, control and treat HIV/AIDS. He will focus his efforts on the global expansion of antiretroviral-therapy programs to limit the epidemic's growth.

In the mid-1990s, Montaner played a key role in the development of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), which has been shown to decrease the levels of the virus in the body and allow the immune system to recover. HAART has been the standard of care for the treatment of HIV/AIDS since 1996, and the medications are now distributed free-of-charge to all eligible British Columbians.

“We now have very powerful cocktails that are simple and well tolerated. These regimens not only save lives, but can help decrease transmission-rates of HIV as part of an overall strategy focused on safer-sex practices and other important harm-reduction measures,” says Montaner.

Dr. Montaner leads clinical activities at the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Canada's largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility located at St. Paul’s Hospital, part of Providence Health Care. As well, Montaner is Co-Director of the Canadian HIV Trials Network and Director of the AIDS Research Program and the Immunodeficiency Clinic at St. Paul's Hospital, holding the Endowed Chair in AIDS Research at UBC, the first initiative of its kind in Canada.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Julio Montaner or Dianne Doyle please contact:

Justin Karasick
Communications Leader, Providence Health Care,
Telephone: 604.806.8460
Media Pager: 604.252.4261
Email: jkarasick@providencehealth.bc.ca

About Providence Health Care
Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organization, operating 14 health care facilities in Greater Vancouver that provide acute, residential, rehabilitation and community kidney dialysis services. Guided by the principle “How you want to be treated,” PHC's 1,000 physicians and 6,000 staff deliver compassionate care to more than 450,000 patients and residents each year. Teaching and research are conducted in affiliation with the University of British Columbia and other institutions of higher education. PHC's facilities include: St. Paul's Hospital, Mount Saint Joseph Hospital, Holy Family Hospital, St. Vincent's Hospitals (Brock Fahrni Pavilion, Langara and Honoria Conway at Heather), Youville Residence, Marion Hospice and community dialysis clinics in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Sechelt, Squamish and Powell River.

About the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
Founded in 1992 by St. Paul's Hospital and the provincial Ministry of Health, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS is a key provincial resource seeking to improve the health of people with HIV through the development, ongoing monitoring and dissemination of comprehensive investigative and treatment programs for HIV and related diseases. For more information, please visit www.cfenet.ubc.ca.

About the University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia is one of Canada's largest and most prestigious public research and teaching institutions and consistently ranks among the top 40 institutes in the world. It offers a range of innovative undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the arts, sciences, medicine, law, commerce and other faculties. UBC ranks in the top 10 of North American universities in creation of spin-off companies, has particular strengths in biotechnology, and its research generates more U.S. patent applications than any other Canadian institution.

About the IAS
IAS is a worldwide force of professionals working together to prevent, control and treat HIV/AIDS. IAS provides critical platforms for presenting new research, sharing best practices and advancing the fight against AIDS. By promoting dialogue, education and networking, IAS helps close gaps in knowledge and expertise at every level of the response. IAS initiatives promote the application of the most current research and best practices in government policy and program development, focusing on resource-challenged settings. For more information, visit www.iasociety.org.