By Julia Belluz - Thursday, August 2, 2012 - 0 Comments
“And if we can stop the transmission, we can stop the disease.”—Dr. Julio Montaner, director of B.C.’s Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, July 19, 2012
At first glance, it seemed wasteful, almost insanely so. After the international AIDS conference in Washington, D.C., last week, health officials from B.C. were trumpeting mass population screening for HIV in their province, and eventually, beyond. According to the media reports, if we could get everyone who has ever been sexually active tested (on a volunteer, not mandatory, basis) it could mean “the beginning of the end” of AIDS.
Of course, there was much overselling in the media—with headlines like: “B.C. aims to end HIV/AIDS with widespread testing“ and “B.C. launches massive program to wipe out HIV/AIDS.” But this screen-everybody approach also seemed dubious from a public health viewpoint. Given the well-known problems associated with over-testing, over-screening, and over-diagnosis in other areas of medicine—from PSA testing to pap smears—why try the catch-all method with HIV? What about the traumas related to false positives and the sheer monetary cost of such an encompassing plan? Plus, Canada doesn’t have a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Why would we adopt mass screening for a disease that mainly impacts marginalised or hard-to-reach groups that probably wouldn’t be captured anyway? Science-ish called Dr. Julio Montaner, one of the leading proponents of the program, to find out more.
By Scott Feschuk - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 3:46 PM - 13 Comments
Remove your hat. Are you travelling with a cane? Do you really need one? Let’s find out.
Welcome to the airport security checkpoint. Please pay attention to all instructions and signage as we guide you through new procedures and attempt to minimize travel delays to and within the United States.
Important: if you need to expedite the screening process in order to make your flight, please identify yourself to uniformed security personnel, who have the authorization to point at you and laugh.
You are now entering the Transportation Security Administration screening zone. Only passengers and masochists are permitted past this point.