World AIDS Day Message from Oak Tree Clinic

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December 1 is World AIDS Day! This is an opportunity to for us to raise awareness about HIV. This year, let’s Think Positive: Rethink HIV and challenge people to overcome outdated stereotypes and to embrace people living with HIV.

BC Women’s Oak Tree Clinic is an interdisciplinary HIV clinic established in 1994 which has been a provincial and national leader in pioneering women-centred care. Since 1994, more than 5500 women, pregnant women, children, and youth have received care and support through the clinic. Since its opening, the Oak Tree Clinic has supported the birth of more than 480 babies to women living with HIV; since 1997, there has not been a single case of HIV in BC-born infants whose mothers received HIV medications for at least 4 weeks.

Many HIV-positive women wish to have families. With good medical and pregnancy care, including HIV medications, they can give birth to HIV-negative healthy babies. In the absence of treatment, 25% of infants born to HIV-infected mothers acquire HIV and another 15% become infected during breastfeeding.  Mother-to-child transmission is less than 1% with antiretroviral therapy.

Women living with HIV are now aging and entering menopause: aging with HIV is a new challenge we are happy to face.

Since 76% of women in Canada get HIV through heterosexual transmission, BC Women’s Hospital & the Oak Tree Clinic encourage all sexually active women to know their HIV status, get tested, and use condoms to reduce the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, even if you do not perceive yourself at high risk to acquire HIV.

We invite you to add the World AIDS Day symbol to your signature block from November 30 to December 4 in recognition/solidarity of people living with HIV.

Touching, kissing and hugging don’t spread HIV. Ignorance does.

Thank you,
Neora Pick, Medical Director
Oak Tree Clinic