Message from the Scientific Director, III: HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research Update
The month of July was an important one for the infection and immunity research community. It marked the announcement of the federal action plan on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted blood-borne infections (STBBI) by the Minister of Health and set in motion strategic planning efforts that CIHR will be undertaking in the year ahead. I have four important updates for you, including opportunities to share your expertise and experience to strengthen our research community.
Release of the Five-Year Action Plan on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections
On July 17, 2019, Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor launched the Government of Canada's Five-Year Action Plan on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (the Action Plan). The Action Plan aims to accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat STBBI, and address barriers to care, in Canada. The Action Plan follows the 2018 release of the Pan-Canadian Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections Framework for Action that provides a roadmap for collaborative and complementary actions to reduce the impact of STBBI in Canada.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) led the development of the Action Plan. CIHR worked closely with PHAC to highlight research priorities within the Action Plan and we will continue this close collaboration as we proceed with its implementation. I encourage you to read the plan and consider how you can contribute to achieving the global target of eliminating HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections as public health concerns by 2030.
CIHR Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research
As part of the Federal Initiative on HIV/AIDS in Canada, CIHR leads the HIV/AIDS Research Initiative, which provides approximately $21 million annually to support researchers and trainees. With this Action Plan, which expands the Federal Initiative to address all STBBIs, this $21 million of research funding will support researchers and trainees in theme areas to improve all STBBIs responses along the continuum of care (i.e. prevention, testing, initiation of care and treatment, and ongoing care and support). The STBBIs addressed by the Federal Initiative includes but are not limited to: human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV), chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and human papilloma virus (HPV).
CIHR has begun consulting with researchers, trainees, community members, clinicians, people with lived/living experience, and policy makers to develop a five-year (2020-2025) Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and STBBI research. We want to hear your thoughts on HIV/AIDS and STBBI research priorities and implementation strategies for including STBBI into the HIV/AIDS Research Initiative. Please stay tuned for more details on the strategic planning process as you will be invited to join the conversation.
In keeping with the new direction provided by the Action Plan, we will be seeking to broaden the scope of the CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee (formerly CHARAC). Now renamed the CIHR HIV/AIDS and STBBI Research Advisory Committee (CHASRAC), this committee has the mandate to advise CIHR on priorities and programs as it relates to HIV/AIDS and STBBI research in Canada. Moving forward, CHASRAC will include members with expertise and experience in STBBI. We are currently launching a call for nominations and if you have experience and expertise in the STBBI area, we invite you to submit your application. Please visit our website for more details on the nomination process.
III Strategic Plan
Finally, III is developing a new strategic plan in parallel of the HIV/AIDS and STBBI strategic plan 2020-2025 that will chart a path for the infection and immunity research agenda in Canada for years to come. This consultation is related to the Institute of Infection and Immunity Priorities with a much broader scope and separate from the federal initiative on STBBI. We invite you to join the conversation by visiting our website for information on how you can engage in our strategic planning process.
We look forward to working collaboratively with you to develop a common vision for infection and immunity research in Canada.
Dr. Charu Kaushic
CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity
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