Government of Canada announces support to help reduce HIV in British Columbia
January 23, 2018 Vancouver, BC Public Health Agency of Canada
HIV/AIDS remains a persistent health issue in Canada and around the world. In Canada, an estimated 65,000 people are living with HIV and AIDS, and there are approximately 2,500 new HIV infections every year. Canada has made great progress in addressing HIV/AIDS in the last three decades; however, there is still work to do to reach the goal of eliminating AIDS as a global public health threat by 2030.
Today, on behalf of the Minister of Health, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced an investment of $1.3 million over five years for the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia's Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education. Together, they will develop an approach to preventing HIV, hepatitis C and related sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections among federally incarcerated men in BC. Specifically, the project will train and support peer health ambassadors who will work with fellow federally incarcerated men to reduce the risks associated with sexually transmitted blood-borne infections. Results and tools of the project will be shared with Correctional Service Canada.
Through the HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund, the Public Health Agency of Canada is investing up to $132 million over five years to support the work of organizations in addressing HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
"Our Government is committed to eliminating HIV and AIDS as global public health threats. The important support programs like the one being put in place by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia reflect our renewed focus on evidence-based interventions that will support the prevention of new infections and reduce the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health
"Our Government is proud to support the development of a participatory approach to reducing health risks among federally incarcerated men. We will continue to collaborate with our partners to support prevention efforts, reduce stigma and discrimination, and increase access to testing and treatment for HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections in communities across Canada.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
"The Community Action Fund is helping organizations provide support to some of our most vulnerable populations. I strongly believe that working together with governments and communities, we can end HIV as a public health threat and achieve the global goal of eliminating AIDS by 2030."
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
"Ensuring that people who are incarcerated have access to disease prevention services has been one of the most challenging areas in all of public health. This is no better illustrated than through the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis C and other sexually transmitted infections in prisons. The HIV and Hepatitis C Community Action Fund, which supports community-based organizations and initiatives, is a great opportunity to advance prevention in this group of Canadians."
Dr. Mark Tyndall
Executive Director, BC Centre for Disease Control
"We are grateful to the Public Health Agency of Canada for supporting this project and recognizing the value of working with incarcerated men to develop and deliver health education programs in correctional facilities. Our ultimate goal is to prevent HIV, Hepatitis C and sexually transmitted blood-borne infections in this population through education. This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Correctional Service Canada, the peer health ambassadors and community partners to enhance the personal and community health of incarcerated individuals."
Dr. Ruth Elwood Martin
Director of UBC's Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education
The Community Action Fund is focused on supporting community-based initiatives that have the potential to make the greatest impact in slowing the spread of HIV and hepatitis C in Canada.
Gay and bisexual men, Indigenous peoples, injection drug users, and people living in or recently released from correctional facilities, are some of the groups most affected by HIV and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. The CAF efforts aim to reduce new infections among these populations.
In October 2015, Member States adopted the UNAIDS 2016-2021 Strategy, which guides international activities and establishes various interim targets for 2020. These targets include the 90-90-90 global treatment targets to ensure that, by 2020, 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90% of people diagnosed with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy; and 90% of people living with HIV, and who are on treatment, achieve viral suppression.
Canada has also endorsed the World Health Organization global sector strategies for viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections and their respective elimination targets by 2030.
Based on available data in Canada, an estimated 80% of HIV-infected people have been diagnosed, 76% of those diagnosed are on treatment, and 89% of those on treatment have suppressed viral loads.
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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