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Aug30

'That's criminal to me': How Canada is failing to end HIV/AIDS at home

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 Categories // Social Media, African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, Youth, Current Affairs, Women, Legal, Media, Revolving Door, Guest Authors

Stigma remains a major problem that discourages people from getting tested. From CBC News, Rob Easton reports.

'That's criminal to me': How Canada is failing to end HIV/AIDS at home

This article by Rob Easton previously appeared at cbc.ca. Read the whole thing here.

Two studies released last month show the tools exist to potentially end the more than three-decades-old scourge of HIV/AIDS, but activists and front-line public health workers in Canada say we simply aren't using them effectively.

The first study found it's nearly impossible for an HIV-positive person to transmit the virus if they're undergoing effective antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The other showed the impressive ability of a drug called Truvada — if taken properly — to protect HIV-negative people who would otherwise be at high risk of contracting the virus.

"I think there's a real frustration of those of us on the ground, those of us working in public health and epidemiology who know absolutely that the tools are out there and we're not seeing the support," says Joshua Edward, a program manager at Vancouver's Health Initiative for Men(HIM).

High-profile figures in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, including Bill Gates at last month's World AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, have suggested talk of "the end of AIDS" is perhaps premature given its continued spread in much of the developing world, particularly Africa.

Such talk also seems premature in Canada.

Edward says there are two major problems in Canada that deny the promise described in the two studies.

First, there remains a powerful stigma around HIV that discourages people from getting tested.

The second problem is Truvada, approved as a pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, is very expensive, up to $1,000 a month, and isn't widely available to those who don't have generous private insurance plans.

This article by Rob Easton previously appeared at cbc.ca. Read the whole thing here.

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