Hepatitis C cascade of care: An essential tool for monitoring progress towards HCV elimination

The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem. Worldwide, about 70 million people are living with hepatitis C virus infection, with a higher prevalence in developing countries. In Canada, 210,753 to 461,517 people are infected with HCV, and an estimated 20 to 40 per cent of infections remain undiagnosed. Those born during the period of 1945 until 1965 have the highest rates of infection and, having acquired the virus decades ago, are now increasingly being diagnosed with serious liver-related illnesses, including liver failure and liver cancer and non-liver related illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney...

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U=U and the overly-broad criminalization of HIV nondisclosure

People living with HIV in Canada have been charged with some of the most serious offences in the Criminal Code, even in cases of consensual sex where there was negligible or no risk of HIV transmission, no actual transmission and no intent to transmit. The Undetectable=Untransmittable (“U=U”) campaign is based on scientific research, including the ground-breaking PARTNER study, establishing that when a person living with HIV on treatment maintains an undetectable viral load for at least six months, the risk of transmitting the virus through sex is effectively non-existent. As advocates for persons living with HIV await action from federal,...

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6 things you can do to show solidarity with people who use drugs and help end the opioid crisis

By Zoë Dodd & Alexander McClelland At the opening of the recent 25th Harm Reduction International Conference in Montreal, the Minister of Health Jane Philpott announced that more people have died in the overdose epidemic in the past few years than died during the height of the AIDS crisis in the late 80s and early 90s. In 2016, it is estimated that 2,300 people died of overdose—preventable deaths caused by the prohibition of drugs. In response to that sobering and sad announcement, we wrote an article asking for people engaged in the response to HIV to show support and solidarity...

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Conversations That Matter – Sex Workers and PrEP at CAHR 2017

The possible unintended consequences of the introduction of PrEP to the sex industry is something that has been discussed in international sex work advocacy since at least 2012. So, when I saw that new PrEP prescription guidelines for Canada were being drafted, stating that “sex-trade workers” were a “significant risk of having transmissible HIV,” I was troubled that there had been no community consultation whatsoever. National guidelines required a national convening.

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Shame Canada: Canadian Task Force ignores expert advice in new hepatitis C screening guidelines

The Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care (CTFPHC) released its HCV Screening Guidelines today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on Monday. To the dismay of experts across Canada including hepatitis C specialists, advocacy groups, and stakeholders, the new screening guidelines ignore expert advice regarding who should be tested for Hep C, setting a dangerous public health policy where dollars come first and the health of Canadians comes last.

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Does price dictate HCV drug policy?

Early this year, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Ontario announced the lowering of eligibility requirements for access to public coverage for life-changing hepatitis C drugs, including Epclusa, Zepatier, daclatasvir and asunaprevir. These drugs will be available to those with lower fibrosis scores for the first time (the greater the fibrosis score, the more severe the liver scarring, or cirrhosis, caused by disease.)[i]

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