Merck Partners with BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS for Seek and Treat research program to reduce HIV/AIDS incidence in BC
This investment complements the announcement also made today by BC Health Minister
Through the seek and treat research program, health professionals will expand HAART coverage (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy) and thereby the treatment and care to HIV-positive people in these marginalized communities.
"The BC-CfE is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS research, and continues to be a leader in the global effort to provide innovative therapies and healthcare strategies to combat this epidemic," said
The HAART approach, developed in part by
"Merck has been involved in AIDS research and treatment since the early nineties. As a leader in treatment for HIV/AIDS, it was natural for our organization to support
The BC-CfE initially proposed the seek and treat strategy in 2005 and published in the Lancet in 2006. Today, this made-in-B.C. strategy has won widespread acclaim within the global scientific community and endorsement from leading researchers and international health organizations such as the WHO and UNAIDS.
"Funding from Merck for our seek and treat program is critical to winning the fight against HIV/AIDS and identifying best practices for the roll out of the seek and treat strategy locally & globally. This builds on the support the BC-CfE has received from the government of BC to pilot this initiative in the province," said Montaner, who is also head of the division of AIDS in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC and President of the International AIDS Society.
More than 12,000 people in B.C. are living with HIV, many in hard-hit areas such as Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and approximately 27% of them remain undiagnosed.
"Reaching out to people living on the streets, the mentally ill, and those with addictions will help people receive the HIV care and treatment they require, save lives and prevent further infections, making seek and treat a cost-averting proposition," said Montaner.
About the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada's largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility. The BC-CfE is based at St Paul's Hospital, Providence Health Care, and a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. Located in
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