December 2, 2014 1:41 am

WATCH: World AIDS Day marked in British Columbia, and around the world

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WATCH: Dr. Julio Montaner is the director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and has been behind some of the biggest breakthroughs in treatment and care for HIV patients. 

People around the world marked World AIDS Day on Monday.

Dr. Julio Montaner of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS says the day is an opportunity not only to celebrate our accomplishments in the fight against the disease, but to remember those lost over the years.

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“Today HIV has become a chronic manageable condition much like diabetes; it needs to be taken seriously, but someone who is 20 years old today with HIV will lead a near normal life,” he says. “We’ve seen tremendous progress.”

Montaner credits the provincial government for getting behind “triple therapy” treatment, which has transformed treatment and saved lives.

“We decreased the progression to mortality with AIDS by greater than 95 per cent in B.C., which is extremely gratifying,” says Montaner.

He is urging everyone to take an HIV test, as up to 25 per cent of people with the disease are not aware of their status.

“In doing so, we can help stop the pandemic,” says Montaner. “The global community needs to deliver on the promise of universal access to retoviral therapy.”

“We need to remind the Prime Minister that we made a promise to the global community and we need to lead the charge,” he says.

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