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Montaner to lead International AIDS Society

Dr Julio Montaner, renowned HIV/AIDS researcher and Director of the BC Centre For Excellence In HIV/AIDS at St Paul’s Hospital, has been elected president of the International AIDS Society (IAS), the IAS announced, Feb 17.

The IAS is a worldwide association of HIV/AIDS professionals and the lead organizer of the annual International AIDS Conference.

Montaner is the physician who, in December, successfully led the effort to pressure Health Canada to grant access to a desperately needed experimental drug therapy for five people living with AIDS in BC who were not responding well to approved AIDS drugs.

Among those patients are British Columbia Persons With AIDS Society chair Paul Lewand, St Paul’s Anglican Church’s Rev Michael Forshaw (who was profiled in the Feb 2 issue of Xtra West), and renowned Vancouver artist Tiko Kerr.

All three men have had a significant decline in their viral loads since beginning the experimental therapy.

“To have a world-recognized expert doing research right here benefits the university, benefits the city, benefits the hospital, let alone the members of the HIV public,” Lewand told Xtra West, Feb 23.

Montaner will officially take over as president of the IAS at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City this August.