B.C.’s provincial health officer is recommending all British Columbians get tested for HIV/AIDS every five years.
The new guidelines are the first of their kind in Canada.
It’s now recommended that all adults in B.C. aged 18 to 70 years old, be tested for HIV every five years.
People who are more at risk of HIV infection should be tested every year.
Adults who have an unknown HIV status, and are 70 years old or older, should be tested once.
The province hopes the new guidelines will help catch new HIV infections earlier, and get people the treatment they need.
“British Columbia’s reputation as a global leader in the fight against HIV/AIDS is growing because of the development of innovative programs and guidelines like these,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Dr. Kendall’s guidelines will help remove the stigma some associate with HIV as B.C. continues to set a standard for care and treatment of this disease.”
The guidelines also recommend that HIV tests are offered to adults, youth and the elderly whenever they go to the doctor with a new or worsening medical condition that requires lab results. Tests are also recommended for people who have symptoms of HIV infection or advanced HIV disease, or if they are pregnant.
The new guidelines are similar to those in Europe.
“The new guidelines are similar to recommendations made by expert bodies in the USA, U.K. and France,” said Dr. Perry Kendall, B.C. provincial health officer. “They are evidence-based and were written by an expert panel of B.C. doctors from a number of clinical specialties.”
Internationally-renowned HIV/AIDS researcher and physician Julio Montaner said the new guidelines will help make treatment more effective.
“This is an important step in our collective effort to reduce HIV in British Columbia and around the world,” said director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Dr. Julio Montaner. “By making HIV testing more accessible, we will be better able to find and offer treatment to those in need. The Treatment as Prevention approach works best when we diagnose and treat HIV infection as early as possible.”
© Shaw Media, 2014