World AIDS Day - December 1, 2012 - Québec: lagging behind in access to screening and treatment for people infected by HIV

25% of people living with HIV are still unaware of their HIV status

MONTREAL, Nov. 28, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - In Quebec, approximately 18,000 people live with HIV (INSPQ), only 41% of whom are subject to regular follow-up and treatment. However, once they are treated, over 90% register an undetectable viral load - significantly reducing the risk of transmitting HIV. In fact, recent clinical tests have demonstrated that among people under effective antiretrovirals whose viral load is undetectable, the risk of transmitting HIV is reduced by 96% (HTPN052, New England Journal of Medicine, 2011).

"This data is crucial to public health," explains Dr. Réjean Thomas, president-founder of Clinique l'Actuel, Clinique A and l'Actuel sur Rue. "It is urgent that we reach more people, in order to track down and increase the number of people receiving effective treatment and regular follow-up, in order to improve their health and limit the spread of HIV."

We remind readers that there is a major epidemic of STBBIs in Quebec, especially among young people. In addition, STBBIs increase the risk of transmitting or contracting HIV. It is urgent that the prevention of STBBIs once again becomes a genuine priority in public health in Quebec.

A major proportion of the population vulnerable to HIV, hepatitis and other STBBIs does not integrate into the health corridor. They are therefore neither receiving screening, adapted care nor treatment. That fact led Dr. Thomas and his team to launch a service in the Gay Village, l'Actuel sur rue (AsR). AsR constitutes an entry point into the healthcare system for individuals who are reluctant or have avoided the system, offering custom-designed attendant measures, without a doctor, thanks to a partnership between nurses and community volunteers.

"This model is unique to Canada, and should inspire the Ministry of Health and Social Services to establish other innovative service points to develop a free-screening culture that is free, rapid, walk-in and confidential," affirms Dr. Thomas. "Screening represents the first stage in taking charge and leads to sustained follow-up and adequate treatment. Government involvement is fundamental in preventing the transmission of HIV and STBBIs and encouraging a healthy youth and general population of Quebec."

Press conference
Actuel sur rue
1359 Ste. Catherine St. E. (corner Panet)
10:30 a.m.


For further information:

Press relations:
Marie-Hélène Chrétien, Des Ruisseaux Communications
514 272-3072, ext. 203; marie‐

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