AIDS Vancouver launches campaign to have injectable HIV treatment covered in B.C.
Although it was approved for use in Canada in March 2020, an injectable HIV treatment is still not covered under B.C.’s public health care system. AIDS Vancouver is calling on the government to change that.
“It’s stressful,” said Vancouver resident George Astakeesic.
Living with HIV has been a long journey for Astakeesic, who navigates a daily regimen of pills.
“I’ve been taking medications for many, many years, over 30 years now and I really would rather not be taking pills daily.”
AIDS Vancouver has launched a campaign asking the B.C. government to approve an alternative.
The long-acting injectable HIV therapy Cabenuva was approved by Health Canada three years ago, and according to AIDS Vancouver, is already covered in other provinces.
The treatment allows patients living with HIV to maintain viral suppression through an injection from a physician up to 12 times a year.
AIDS Vancouver says it would be a game changer for people like Astakeesic, who often experience side effects from their daily oral medication.
“So many other parts of Canada have been able to make this possible and as a leader in HIV care and treatment for so many years, we don’t really understand why that’s not happening here in B.C. yet,” said executive director Sarah Chown.
When asked why the provincial government has not approved the HIV injectable therapy under public health coverage, BC health minister Adrian Dix said the work is being led by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
“There will be access to such things in B.C. and it’ll be done through the Centre for HIV/AIDS,” said Dix on Friday at the Harrison Mills groundbreaking for the new Indigenous-led primary health-care centre that is part of a reconciliation agreement between the B.C. government and the Sts’ailes First Nation.
“That’s the key aspect of what we’re doing, so appreciate the comment from AIDS Vancouver, they know that we’re going to lead on this issue for all of the people that need support and care.”
“I think it would lessen the time that I think about my HIV,” said Astakeesic.
“I think it would be healthy for me emotionally, mentally, physically.”
Nearby regions report spike in whopping cough – BlackburnNews.com
Nearby regions report spike in whopping cough
March 24, 2023 12:01pm
While some communities in southwestern Ontario are seeing an increase in pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, Lambton Public Health (LPH) has not noted any recent cases within its jurisdiction.
The last case of pertussis reported in Sarnia-Lambton was in 2019.
Earlier this week, the health units in Windsor-Essex and Huron-Perth reported increases in whooping cough cases.
There have been 18 cases since November 2022 in Windsor-Essex, and in Huron-Perth there have been 21 confirmed cases so far this year.
“As always, Lambton Public Health encourages parents and caregivers of children to stay up-to-date on their routine immunizations, which include pertussis, as this greatly reduces the risk of outbreaks and serious illness,” read an emailed statement to Sarnia News Today.
“Other eligible populations for pertussis vaccine include adolescents around 14 to 16 years of age, pregnant individuals preferably between 27 and 32 weeks of gestation, and one adult booster dose for those 18 years of age and older.”
Pertussis is a contagious infection in the lungs and is most dangerous for infants.
In February, LPH said 6,589 letters would be sent to students about routine immunizations.
Waterloo regional COVID-19, cold and flu care clinic closing its doors | CTV News – CTV News Kitchener
It might be a sign of change in the pandemic that has gripped the world for three years.
The regional COVID-19 Cold & Flu Care Clinic run by Grand River Hospital is closing its doors.
The clinic has been open for the last six months, first at 66 Pinebush Road in Cambridge and later at 50 Sportsworld Drive in Kitchener, after the hospital announced it would be expanding the services offered by the clinic.
Healthcare workers said it’s a bittersweet day, noting there is still a need for its services in the community.
“At our peak, we were seeing up to 400 patients per week, and it was incredible to see the way this team would perform. Everyone did their part, everybody held their own,” Lisa Anstey, manager of the regional COVID care clinic, said.
She added that it never felt chaotic or busy at the clinic because it was well organized.
“The patients were all very pleased with the care they received,” she said.
The clinic has cared for over 8,000 patients over the last six months.
The hospital said the clinic`s closure comes with the return of warmer weather and anticipated seasonal decline of cold and flu.
“If their symptoms are severe and worsening they should go to a local emergency department… pharmacies are a wonderful resource as well. They can provide Plaxlovid prescriptions or they can support through PCR testing,” said Anstey.
Care will now transition to family physicians, urgent care clinics and community pharmacies.
The hospital says the regional clinic grew out of the COVID-19 assessment clinics which were run by local hospitals starting in 2020. Their goal was to divert patients away from hospitals and get the COVID-19, cold and flu care they need.
The clinic’s doors closed at 4 p.m. Friday.
Nurses Marilyn Boehm and Lannie Butler have been working side-by-side since March 2020, the pair taking on the pandemic together.
They have worked at the drive-thru testing clinic, vaccine clinic and at the regional COVID-19, Cold & Flu Care Clinic.
“This is our final journey, we’re sad it’s closing,” the duo said. “We worry about what’s going to happen to our patients out there in our community.”
“That’s the only recourse that some of the sicker folks have is to go to the emergency department and we know about the long waits and the high volumes there.”
The clinic has helped divert patients from the emergency rooms, and they say the closure could place the burden back on hospitals.
The Ontario Pharmacist Association also has concerns.
“There can be a challenge with needing to ramp those efforts up again very rapidly given the challenges everyone is facing with workforce, health human resources,” Jen Belcher, vice-president of member relations with the Ontario Pharmacist Association, said
The association is stressing that the pandemic isn’t over yet, despite mandates being dropped.
“It’s absolutely not from what we’ve seen from the impact of the disease on our population both through new infection and some of those longer-term complications associated with people with long COVID for example,” Belcher said.
As for Boehm and Butler, they say they will return if they get called back to the frontlines to continue fighting COVID-19.
OTHER CLINICS SET TO CLOSE
The Grand River Hospital’s COVID-19 clinic is not the only one closing in southern Ontario.
On Friday, the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA) said it will be closing its COVID-19, cold and flu care clinic.
According to the HPHA, the last day of operation for COVID-19 testing will be March 30.
“The contribution this team has made to the quality of our local health system during the pandemic has been outstanding,” said Andrew Williams, President and CEO of HPHA in a news release. “As we close our CCFCC a huge thank you is extended to our community partners including the Stratford Rotary Complex, the wonderful staff at the Stratford Family Health Team, Emad Salama of PrinceRx Pharmacy for generously paying the parking fees for all the CCFCC patients and, of course, all the staff and physicians that worked tirelessly provide this service.”
THE HPHA said over 54,000 PCR tests and over 2,000 clinical assessments have been completed.
Over in Guelph, the Guelph-Wellington-Dufferin Public Health unit said it will be closing its clinic on March 31.
Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance closes COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic
The Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance’s (HPHA) COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinic (CCFCC) will be closing due to a steady decline in patients.
The last day of operation for COVID-19 testing will be Thursday, March 30. The last day for physician assessment will be Friday, March 31.
“The contribution this team has made to the quality of our local health system during the pandemic has been outstanding,” said President and CEO Andrew Williams. “As we close our CCFCC, a huge thank you is extended to our community partners including the Stratford Rotary Complex, the wonderful staff at the Stratford Family Health Team, Emad Salama of PrinceRx Pharmacy for generously paying the parking fees for all the CCFCC patients and, of course, all the staff and physicians that worked tirelessly to provide this service.”
For patients seeking COVID-19 assessment, testing, or antiviral treatment after March 31, contact your family doctor or visit Ontario’s COVID-19 web page.
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