British Columbia is marking record-low cases of HIV and AIDS as the crisis transitions from epidemic to chronic disease management, province says.
The overall number of new HIV infections in BC are on the decline. In 2018, there were 205 cases of HIV. In 2004, that number stood at 437. There are an estimated 7,271 British Columbians living with HIV.
More importantly, the number of annual HIV cases dropped from nearly 900 new cases to approximately 200 since the introduction of pre-highly active antiretroviral therapy.
“As we commemorate World AIDS Day, it’s important to look to the progress we have made against a formidable disease,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.
To further advance the goal of eventually eliminating the disease, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BCCfE) has established a research laboratory at 647 Powell St. in Vancouver to support ongoing HIV/AIDS research for people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and beyond.
BC Government said it has also expanded public funding for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).
As a result, approximately 4,500 people at higher risk of HIV infection have qualified for coverage of this potentially lifesaving treatment, the government said.
The Province’s STOP HIV/AIDS program receives approximately $20 million of annual funding. Separately, government supports a three-year, $322-million contract with the BCCfE for the delivery of the HIV Drug Treatment Program, including HIV PrEP.