In recognition of his contribution to the field of HIV/AIDS care, treatment and prevention, Health Minister Terry Lake has issued the following statement honouring Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
“In a few short days, on December 1, we will observe World AIDS Day - an international day to remember those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and celebrate the tremendous advances in the field today.
“Nobody in Canada has made a bigger contribution to the field of HIV/AIDS research and treatment than Dr. Julio Montaner. Beginning with his early work at St. Paul’s Hospital in the early 1980s, when HIV was an as-yet unknown enemy, he was an advocate for his patients, seeking innovative ways to treat their mysterious infections.
“From there, he became the head of St. Paul’s AIDS clinic, and pioneered work on the now-ubiquitous model of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). HAART has become the international standard of care, and as a result, those living with HIV/AIDS are now able to enjoy longer, healthier lives.
“As the director for the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, he has continued to push the bar higher, using HAART to not only treat patients, but to help prevent new infections. The result has been phenomenal, and here in B.C. we are seeing rates of new infections declining. His model has turned into our successful Treatment as Prevention strategy, which has become the new international standard of care and is being adopted by countries around the world, including France, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, parts of the United States and China. This work will continue in Paris on December 1, as representatives of UNAIDS and political leaders from France and other countries call on cities and countries worldwide to focus on what B.C. is now well on the road to achieving - an AIDS-free generation.
“In fact, in September 2014, the United Nations launched its 90-90-90 treatment target, which has a goal of ending the AIDS epidemic worldwide by 2030. This goal is modelled on B.C.’s strategy. It is fitting that next year, Vancouver will host the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, with Dr. Montaner serving as the conference’s co-chair.
“B.C. is recognized as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is the only province showing a consistent decline in new HIV diagnoses. HIV/AIDS-related deaths in B.C. have decreased by more than 95 per cent since 1996. Over the same period, new HIV infections per year in B.C. have dropped from 850 in the mid-1990s to 238 in 2012.
“It is no surprise that Dr. Montaner has recently been inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and on behalf of all British Columbians, I would like to thank him for his tireless efforts to help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and ensure British Columbians living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS are reached by the very best prevention, testing, care and treatment services.”
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)
BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS