Vancouver was chosen today to host the 2015 International AIDS Society conference, which will bring 6,000 HIV and AIDS experts to the city for four days.
Held every two years — with this year's conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Vancouver was chosen for the next because of the impact research and harm reduction projects here have had on the spread and impact of the disease.
In the mid-90s, there were 900 new transmissions per year in B.C. Last year, there were 238, and reported HIV-related deaths and illnesses have decreased 90 per cent.
AIDS Vancouver's Brett O'Reilly says the local success comes from access to testing and drugs that make spreading the disease almost impossible.
"If you're going to engage in sexual relations unprotected, it's better to actually engage with someone who has HIV but is on anti-retrovirals and has reduced their viral load compared to someone [where] you don't know [their infection status]," he said.
Today's announcement comes on the same day as the announcement that two people with HIV in the U.S. may have been cured, for good, through bone marrow transplants from a donor with an HIV-resistant genetic mutation. They've stopped anti-retroviral therapy for the time being, and doctors say they currently show no signs of the virus.
- Read more: 2 men with HIV show no sign of virus after stem cell transplants