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Robert Hogg

AIDS Network nation’s first

November 27, 2008

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Robert Hogg, an SFU health sciences professor who studies infectious diseases, will head Canada’s first nation-wide HIV/AIDS antiretroviral research network, the Canadian Observational Cohort (CANOC). CANOC will study the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS treatment.

Hogg predicts that the network’s research will improve treatments for the 58,000 people living with HIV in Canada.

"Society is spending millions of dollars on antiretroviral drugs, and studies show that they are transforming AIDS from being a death sentence into a manageable disease," observes Hogg. "But until now there has been no national network of researchers to provide a big picture of how these drugs affect different populations and what could be the best therapy regimen for them."

Funded by a $2.25-million grant over five years from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the network brings together 31 HIV/AIDS clinicians and researchers in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. They will pool the results of their studies of six cohorts of 18,000 HIV-positive Canadians who are receiving antiretroviral treatment.

"This big-picture approach will enable Canadian governments and their respective health agencies to better understand current gaps in knowledge, treatment outcomes and regional trends," explains Hogg. "The collaboration will also better inform best-practice guidelines for the treatment of HIV/AIDS within various populations, including the more vulnerable ones such as gay men, injection drug users and First Nations people. It will also rear a new breed of health practitioners with a deeper understanding of how compounding problems such as mental illness and addiction undermine the efficacy of antiretroviral drugs."

Until now there has been no mechanism in place to train future researchers in HIV/AIDS cohort research.

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