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Health Authority quells rumour of HIV outbreak



Rumours that HIV rates are on the rise in Whistler-Blackcomb staff housing are untrue.

“It is a false concern,” said Dr Paul Martiquet, Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.

“It has come to our attention at Whistler Community Health and the Whistler SAFE Clinic that there is a concern that there is an   ‘HIV out break’ at Whistler-Blackcomb Staff Housing. This is not the case. There have been no recently reported cases of HIV in Whistler.”

He reminded people, however, that certain lifestyle choices and risk activities can cause exposure to communicable diseases and the best way to avoid exposure to HIV is to use a condom and do not share needles.

Brian Good, Whistler-Blackcomb’s House Manager, said he had been aware of the rumours for some weeks and all house advisors have been told to make sure residents know the information is false.

“We did hear about the rumours and we checked with public heath right away to make sure there was nothing to be concerned about,” he said.

“At the end of the day it was a bit disruptive because our mandate is to provide a healthy, safe community. We make great efforts to do so and we feel assured that people are safe and healthy and we want to feel safe and healthy.

“People do need to be careful but this a rumour and nothing more than a rumour.”

To find out more about your risk for exposure to HIV or communicable diseases call Sonja at 604-932-3202. HIV testing is provided at no-charge at the SAFE Clinic on Tuesday’s from 4:30 to 7:15 p.m. The SAFE Clinic also provides reduced-cost testing and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections and other sexual health services.