Aboriginal people are more likely to contract HIV, become infected younger, receive treatment later and die sooner than other British Columbians, says the B.C. Ministry of Health. Aboriginal communities often struggle with problems that make both prevention of HIV infections and accessing treatment difficult, said Dr. Dee Hoyano, Vancouver Island Health Authority medical health officer. “We know aboriginal people are disproportionately more affected by HIV,” she said. First Nations members on Vancouver Island make up 5.8 per cent of the population, but account for 11 per cent of HIV cases...First Nations are Canada’s most vulnerable citizens and their HIV plight is complicated by the fact that responsibility for their health care is shared by federal and provincial governments, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver, who is federal Opposition health critic. “HIV/AIDS in the aboriginal community is a very serious issue, but this is something the federal government has direct responsibility for in terms of aboriginal people on reserves,” she said.
TORONTO -- Health Canada should regulate all entities that mix drugs outside a licensed pharmacy, said an expert who investigated why more than 1,200 cancer patients in two provinces received diluted chemotherapy drugs. Ottawa should step in because it's a "cross-border issue," Dr. Jake Thiessen said Wednesday after releasing his report commissioned by the Ontario government. "I believe in the safe and best interests of the nation of Canada, we need an agency that has national authority to actually regulate all of this," he said... "The federal government has to step up to the plate, they have to be proactive, they have to fill this loophole," said NDP health critic Libby Davies. "The issue of drug safety and Canadians' health is at risk here, as it has been."
B.C. leads the country in tackling HIV, but experts worry the lack of a nationwide strategy puts all Canadians at a higher risk of contracting the infection. If HIV were avian flu, Ottawa would mandate a national strategy to fight it, said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Instead, he said, “the federal government has continuously refused to get involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS. They feel that this is somebody else’s problem.” Experts credit that success to the province’s efforts to make early diagnosis and treatment a key part of its strategy to decrease transmission, illness and death...The B.C. approach to circumventing HIV and AIDS is “a tremendous success story,” and B.C. is unquestionably the national leader in fighting the infection, said Libby Davies, an NDP MP from Vancouver and the federal Opposition health critic. But Davies called the federal government both short-sighted and “incredibly irresponsible” in failing to create a national HIV policy based on Montaner’s progress. The all-party Standing Committee on Health’s recent study on health innovations failed to even mention HIV, said Davies, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative-dominated committee. That was despite Montaner testifying to the commitee about the need for federal leadership.