media release

HIV/AIDS research, innovation and remaining challenges featured during SFU’s President’s Dream Colloquium

January 22, 2019
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Contact:
Ian Bryce, Communications and Marketing, 604-773-8134, ian_bryce@sfu.ca

This spring, Simon Fraser University’s President’s Dream Colloquium focuses on HIV/AIDS. The seven-part public lecture series, which launched on January 8th, will continue to explore issues in HIV including recent medical research developments, criminalization and HIV disclosure, harm reduction for individuals who inject drugs, and Indigenous and community perspectives.

On January 22nd, Zabrina Brumme, director of the Laboratory Program at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, will discuss the most recent updates in HIV cure research including how close a cure is in development, and the difficulties of finding a cure for HIV.

The colloquium aims to inspire and mobilize the next generation of researchers, policy-makers, activists, artists and advocates by providing an interdisciplinary understanding of the past, current, and future response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The opening lecture drew an at-capacity crowd to hear about the history of HIV in Vancouver from Dr. Julio Montaner, executive director and Physician-in-Chief of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), and community activist Valerie Nicholson.

Lectures will take place at SFU’s Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver campuses, bringing together experts and researchers from across Canada and the United States. The events are free and open to the public, but require registration. Events will be live streamed. Each lecture will be followed by a networking event and reception.

“I think that there’s a sense among the general public that HIV is ‘over’,” says Robert Hogg, a professor in SFU’s faculty of Health Sciences and senior research scientist with the BC-CfE. “We have a treatment that allows people to live a long time with it but HIV is still an important issue that needs to be addressed.”

 

WHY IT MATTERS:

Over half of the 38 million people living with HIV globally lack access to adequate treatment, and the rate of new infections remains high. To uphold the international commitment to ending AIDS—including among high risk and vulnerable populations—there is a need to bring new scholarly, policy and public attention to the successes achieved, lessons learned, and challenges that remain. The UNAIDS 90-90-90 Target to end AIDS by 2030 is based on the principles of the made-in-BC Treatment as Prevention® strategy. However, without world leaders expanding funding for access to testing and treatment, the 90-90-90 Target cannot be achieved.

 

FAST FACTS:

  • An estimated 13,000 British Columbians are living with HIV.
  • Through the implementation of the made-in-BC Treatment as Prevention® strategy, BC has seen a steady and consistent decline in new HIV cases.
  • Treatment as Prevention® involves expanded access to HIV testing and the immediate, universal provision of HIV treatment upon diagnosis.
  • In B.C., all adults are recommended to ask their health care provider for an HIV test.
  • In Canada, people living with HIV can be charged and prosecuted for not disclosing their HIV-positive status to their sexual partners (also known as “HIV criminalization”). The law requires that an individual wear a condom in addition to having an undetectable viral load (which means the virus cannot be transmitted to others).

 

LEARN MORE:

 

About the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS 
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility – nationally and internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. The made-in-BC Treatment as Prevention® strategy (TasP® ) pioneered by BC-CfE, and supported by UNAIDS since 2011, inspired the ambitious global target for HIV treatment - known as the 90-90-90 Target - to end AIDS as a pandemic by 2030. The BC-CfE is applying TasP® to therapeutic areas beyond HIV/AIDS, including viral hepatitis and addiction™, to promote Targeted Disease Elimination®  as a means to contribute to health care sustainability. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key stakeholders, including government, health authorities, health care providers, academics, and the community to decrease the health burden of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and addictions across Canada and around the world.

 

ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY:

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 145,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

 

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