Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honour an exceptional Canadian researcher, Dr. Julio Montaner, head of the division of AIDS at UBC and director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Montaner was recently awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to Austria, given to an individual who has provided outstanding services of public benefit to the country and the world. It cites, “Dr. Montaner's leadership and innovation in HIV and AIDS research has improved the lives of thousands of people in Austria and millions of people throughout the world”.
The award recognizes Dr. Montaner's leadership in promoting a major Canadian scientific discovery: highly active anti-retroviral treatment. HAART reduces the viral load of HIV by the second dose, making it impossible to transmit the disease.
Called “treatment as prevention”, it is hailed by WHO and UNAIDS. Other nations, including China, have implemented it, yet in Canada only British Columbia has done so, resulting in a consistent decline in new HIV cases there, while other provinces show an increase in HIV.
The federal government refuses to meet or acknowledge Dr. Montaner and this significant achievement. Once again, ideology prevails over science. What a shame.