May 1, 2017

Opinion: Truly universal care could help end AIDS

Written by Lianping Ti and Alexandra Collins

This article originally appeared on the Montreal Gazette.

The Canadian Association for HIV Research conference, taking place in Montreal, brings together some of the top researchers from across Canada. It comes at a time when we have effective treatments for HIV, transforming it from a death sentence to a manageable condition. Still, there remain glaring gaps in access to treatment, including for people who use drugs.

Several Canadian communities are seeing spikes in HIV due to increased opioid and injection drug use, from rural Saskatchewan to Ottawa. The United Nations has called for increased international investment to address the continued spread of HIV among people who use drugs.

Globally, people who use drugs have very little access to HIV treatment or drug harm reduction, such as needle exchange and distribution programs, supervised injection facilities or evidence-based addiction treatment. Poverty, homelessness, stigmatization and criminalization undermine their access to HIV treatment.

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