The journey to ending HIV and AIDS

published on March 15, 2016 by Savanna Craig in The Concordian

With medicine and harm-reduction techniques, the virus may soon be a thing of the past

The last recorded national statistics for those living with HIV/AIDS in Canada reported 2,570 new cases, according to the AIDS Committee of Toronto. As found by national HIV estimates, by the end of 2014 an estimated 75,500 were living with HIV in Canada according to the Community AIDS Treatment Information Exchange website. The province with the highest rates of new reported cases was Ontario with 39.6 per cent; Quebec followed close behind with 21.7 per cent.

M.J. Milloy is a research scientist and infectious disease epidemiologist from the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and an assistant professor of medicine in the AIDS division at University of British Columbia. On March 10, he spoke at the Leacock building on McGill campus to discuss ending HIV/AIDS, organized by the Concordia University Community Lecture Series. Milloy spoke to The Concordian to share his knowledge on Vancouver’s approach of harm reduction techniques.

Milloy said rates of HIV in Vancouver decreased due to changes in the way the virus is being addressed. “Vancouver decided to treat [drug use] as a public health problem and not a public order problem,” said Milloy. “Not a problem for police, but a problem for doctors and nurses in the healthcare system.” Milloy said this led to a number of programs being created to address issues surrounding drug use. This includes educating users on the risks and consequences associated to unsafe drug use, such as contracting HIV/AIDS, rather than focusing on how drug use itself is bad.

View the full article