A Vancouver care centre for people with HIV and AIDS will now be able to expand its day health-care services into the weekend thanks to a $500,000 grant from the provincial government.

The Dr. Peter Centre currently provides a health program from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays for 325 people most in need of care, providing treatment, nursing care, meals and other services.

It also offers a resident program with 24-hour nursing care.

“HIV-AIDS is a serious problem ... among vulnerable populations,” said MLA Terry Lake, parliamentary secretary for Health Promotion.

“While medication is available, without support, there is limited success in keeping severely disadvantaged individuals linked to treatment.”

Maxine Davis, executive director of the Dr. Peter AIDS Foundation — which runs the centre — said the funding allows the staff to provide greater care continuity and reduce emergency department visits on weekends.

“This funding makes it possible for us to have an even stronger role in B.C.’s STOP HIV/AIDS initiative,” said Davis. “Uninterrupted daily HIV treatment is key to its success.”

“While most individuals can manage their own HIV medications, many ... need daily nursing care and ... support. Weekend service will make a tremendous difference in (peoples’) lives.”