March 29, 2011
New HIV cases among injection drug users are down in British Columbia, report health officials who cite an aggressive test-and-treat campaign and harm reduction programs. In 2009, the province recorded 64 new HIV cases among IDUs, down from 137 cases in 2000, an expert working group found.
The overall number of HIV-positive tests also declined in 2008-09, for all ethnic groups and in both males and females, the province reported. The most apparent decrease was in people ages 20-39.
While the number testing for hepatitis C virus has grown, reported HCV cases are down -- another proxy for potential HIV transmissions among IDU. In 2009, 120,000 people were tested for HCV, up from 64,000 in 1998. Reported HCV cases fell from 4,353 in 2000 to 2,444 in 2009. The report also noted an increase in crack use and fewer young IDUs.
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