BMO Donates $100,000 to Innovative "STOP-HIV/AIDS" Program

Vancouver, October 2, 2009 — A $100,000 gift from BMO Financial Group to St. Paul's Hospital Foundation will provide important support to the STOP-HIV/AIDS program operated by the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.
St. Paul's Hospital and Providence Health Care's BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) are actively seeking to improve the health of people with HIV and related diseases through the development of comprehensive treatment programs and providing access to them.

“Our donation in support of The Centre's STOP-HIV/AIDS reinforces our commitment to supporting and strengthening health care services, especially for those citizens who do not have the means or resources to seek the treatment they vitally need,” said Rob Serraglio, Senior Vice President, BC & Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal.

The STOP-HIV/AIDS program enhances the availability of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) to all clinically eligible people in BC, specifically targeting under-serviced and hard-to-reach populations.

HAART is an effective therapeutic “cocktail” that decreases the level of HIV in the blood and virtually eliminates progression from HIV infection to AIDS.

“The BC-CfE has made the expansion of HAART the cornerstone of its effort to halt progression of the disease among those infected with HIV and transmission of the disease within the overall community,” said Julio Montaner, Director, BC-CfE and President, International AIDS Society. “BMO's donation will provide significant benefits to all British Columbians, as STOP HIV/AIDS works to reduce the disease burden and HIV incidence throughout the province.”

Since 1817, BMO Financial Group, Canada's first bank, has supported the principles of community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves. BMO is one of Canada's largest corporate benefactors. In 2008, the Bank contributed $47.7 million in Canada, including $23.7 million in charitable donations and $24 million in sponsorships and events.

“This generous contribution from BMO Financial Group recognizes the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS' global leadership role in the fight against HIV/AIDS and provides crucial support for the Centre's innovative approach to both treating and preventing HIV and AIDS in some of the province's hard-to-reach and most vulnerable communities,” says Stephen Shapiro, President & CEO, St. Paul's Hospital Foundation.

St. Paul's Hospital Foundation raises funds for the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and other globally recognized leading programs at St. Paul's Hospital.

Media Contacts:

Laurie Grant, BMO Financial Group
(604) 665-7596
Leslie Dickson, St. Paul's Hospital Foundation