HIV Program

Shannon Turvey, MD, FRCPC

Director, Northern Alberta HIV Program

Program Description

The Northern Alberta HIV Program and its affiliates are the main source of care to all HIV-infected individuals in northern Alberta, currently over 2,500. The clinic population is highly varied, and we aspire to provide a welcoming environment to indigenous patients, immigrants and refugees, men who have sex with men and people who are street involved or use drugs.

A broad range of care and support, including antiretroviral therapy, is provided by a multi-disciplinary team working from two primary sites: the University of Alberta and Royal Alexandra Hospitals. Support around housing, substance use, partners and families, and reduction of HIV transmission are part of the team's mandate, depending on the individual patient's needs. The team includes nurses, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists and dietitians working with Infectious Diseases physicians with a special interest and expertise in HIV care. The program has a particular emphasis on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Antiretroviral drugs are provided to all patients with Alberta Health Care at no cost to the patient.

There are strong links with relevant community organizations including HIV Edmonton (the local AIDS service organization) and Streetworks (needle exchange and street outreach program). Several program members have been involved in international work. The Edmonton Sexually Transmitted Infections Clinic and the inner-city Boyle McCauley Health Centre are closely affiliated with our program. We have links with northern communities such as Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie to facilitate care for patients who live far from Edmonton. Our staff also provides outreach services to local correctional facilities, and the local HIV patient residence, Kairos House.  The ACE team is a unique resource which provides intensive medication adherence and other supports to patients with particularly complex needs. Team members are involved in a broad range of research activities including trials of new drugs and epidemiologic studies.