Author: CATIE

Hepatitis C elimination in Canada: Five approaches to make it happen

Canada is one of 194 countries that have signed on to the World Health Organization’s Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, committing to eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat by 2030. The wide availability of a cure for all Canadians, along with new tools to prevent and diagnose hepatitis C, mean that elimination is now possible for the first time. This year, new research and examples from other countries have shown how we can approach an elimination strategy, and Canada has started to build momentum. Here are five approaches that we can adopt to make hepatitis C...

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Working to end the criminalization of HIV in Canada

On June 14, I travelled to Toronto to meet with leading activists, researchers and experts working to end the criminalization of HIV in Canada for the 8th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights. Organized by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the annual forum for the past few years has focused solely on advocacy to end Canada’s position as a global leader in the criminalization of people living with HIV for alleged non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

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In the eyes of Indigenous people: The link between colonialism and hepatitis C, and the need for historic trauma-informed care

Why do First Nations, Métis and Inuit in Canada carry such an unfair burden of hepatitis C in Canada? It is estimated that hepatitis C among Indigenous people is five-times higher than non-Indigenous Canadians. In particular, Indigenous women represent almost half of all hepatitis C cases in their communities, a much higher proportion than among the non-Indigenous Canadian population. Young Indigenous people (24 years and under) represent 70% to 80% of hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs in Canada.

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Bring testing to the people

Canada has signed on to global targets to eliminate HIV and hepatitis C as public health threats by 2030. While ambitious, these targets are now a realistic possibility thanks to the effectiveness of modern medications. HIV treatment can suppress the virus so successfully that HIV-positive Canadians who start treatment early can have life expectancies similar to their HIV-negative peers. This also prevents the transmission of HIV to their sexual partners.  And most Canadians treated for hepatitis C are now cured within weeks.

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A step by step process on how we can support mothers living with HIV

As doctors specializing in the clinical care of women living with HIV, we often get questions about breastfeeding and the transmission of HIV. Here’s just one e-mail we received from an infectious disease specialist outside Ontario: “I am seeing a young African woman as a patient who is HIV positive, had advanced disease, but now is suppressed. She is pregnant and had two deliveries in Africa, where she was encouraged to breastfeed. She is still quite adamant about breastfeeding despite my counselling otherwise. How do you manage these situations and what is your approach to this?”

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