Category: Articles

Eliminating viral hepatitis is possible: Four lessons from the World Hepatitis Summit

By Melisa Dickie

As deaths from many communicable diseases continue to decline globally, deaths caused by viral hepatitis have now surpassed all other chronic infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Yet it is one of the few global health threats with easy solutions. Highly effective vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B. We now have a cure for hepatitis C. With these tools at our disposal, why aren’t we seeing an impact on the epidemic?

Le crystal meth, parlons-en

par Martin Bilodeau

Si la dépendance psychologique au crystal est puissante, son association intime avec le cul, dans la communauté gaie, doit être nommée, reconnue et abordée, puisque tout simplement, l’un peut être le revers qui fait rechuter l’autre.

Si une substance peut devenir problématique en soi, il demeure impératif de prendre en compte les facteurs intersectionnels en jeu dans la relation à sa consommation.

De même, le facteur technologique des modes de rencontre et de livraison de baise et de drogue à domicile doit être pris en considération dans notre compréhension du sujet et ce, sans stigmatisation.

HIV and mental health: The elephant in the room

By Tammy C. Yates

In his famous poem “The Blind Men and the Elephant”, John Godfrey Saxe retells an Indian parable about three blind men who went to see an elephant. Of course, being blind, they could only ‘see’ the elephant by touching it. When asked to describe the elephant, one grabbed it by its trunk and said, “An elephant is like a snake!” The second man took his turn to touch it, pulled it by the leg, and confidently determined, “No, an elephant is like a tree trunk!” The third and final person to touch the elephant grabbed it by its tusks and said, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, you are both wrong: an elephant is smooth, cold and hard.” Each of the men touched the elephant, yet from their perspectives, the experiences of the elephant were totally different.

Connected patients, connected providers: Delivering comprehensive, coordinated, team-based care to people living with HIV in Canada

By Dr. Claire Kendall and Katie Ablett

Thanks to effective anti-HIV treatment, HIV has evolved into a chronic illness. However, people living with HIV often today also live with other physical and mental health conditions, which can be difficult to cope with, especially for those also coping with difficult socio-economic circumstances.

To provide quality care to people living with HIV and other long-term medical and social conditions, health-care providers not only need to ensure  that people living with HIV are engaged in quality health care, but we also need to enhance the capacity of Canadian HIV clinics to integrate and coordinate additional resources. By integrating and coordinating resources, we help address the needs of a whole person —needs that often cut across the various disciplines, specialties, sectors and systems that we have traditionally organized care around.

The good news is that through several interconnected research studies, our research team led out of the Bruyère Research Institute in Ottawa has shown that the complex health and social care needs of people living with HIV can be met –and, in fact, are being met –by various care models, settings and teams working in HIV clinics across Canada.

Is this the end for HCV drug development?

by Sean Hosein

The last seven years have seen a whirlwind of hepatitis C virus (HCV) drug development. Each new treatment is generally more potent than the last. The latest treatments approved for HCV in Canada this week include Maviret (made by AbbVie) and Vosevi (made by Gilead). Clinical trials of these treatments, which people take in pill form, resulted in high rates of cure (usually greater than 95 per cent) with few serious side effects. Although it will be six months or more before these drugs ascend to provincial, territorial and other formularies, their approval signals that the end of drug development for HCV is in sight.