It's the 1980s in Canada when it comes to HIV -

It’s the 1980s in Canada when it comes to HIV

New infections are back to 1982 levels


The number of annual cases of HIV-AIDS in Canada and the U.S. has grown back to 1982 levels, when the epidemic was rampant in the gay community. Today, delegates at the International AIDS Conference heard that beyond gay men, those being infected now are increasingly IV drug users, and members of visible minority communities, particularly aboriginals and immigrants in Canada. In Canada in 2008, there were approximately 3,300 new HIV infections, and the rates of infection are steadily rising, while they have leveled in the U.S. Dr. Strathdee, who presented an epidemiological portrait of the epidemic in the U.S. and Canada, said inequities in race, ethnic group, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status are drivers of the epidemic. “All this translates into unequal access to prevention and care,” she said.

Globe and Mail

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It’s the 1980s in Canada when it comes to HIV

  1. Far too many don't believe it won't happen to them or they think they since the don't know anyone with HIV that the potential is low. Unfortunately symptoms and thus diagnosis can often lag far behind initial infection. This increases the number of at risk interactions, be they swapping needles or of sexual nature.
    Might more available blood labs help? More education? A readjustment of attitudes? Tighter limits on carriers at risk of transmitting?

    • EDUCATION. EDUCATION > EDUCATION. Sex ed in schoiols, on bus stops, on public transit. ON TV. However, our puritanical society and our uptight Conservative government would rather pretend that it will just "go away" if the issue is not addressed head on.

      • True. It seems unlikely that more education will accomplish anything. You can't turn around without being informed, yet again, that AIDS can happen to anybody, including you.

  2. Complacency towards HIV in Canadian society in general has developed largely because of use of the life-extending and life-enhancing drug cocktails. To many people, it seems that there is no longer a downside to becoming infected with HIV because it appears that there are no meaningful long term ramifications that can't be "cured" with the current drug protocol. This attitude makes precautions seem redundant.

  3. Translation: what we've been doing for the last 30 years doesn't seem to be working. Therefore, we should continue to do more of what we've been trying for the last 30 years. Terrific.

    • I would suggest your comment is inaccurate. We know that infection rates went down, and then more recently they have been going back up. This does not translate to "what we've been doing for the last 30 years doesn't seem to be working".

      It does though suggest efforts do need to change, because the battle has changed.

      • In my view, when a set of tactics is tried for three decades with the result that infection rates are the same at the end as at the beginning, then that suggests that the tactics were unsuccessful. Perhaps not wholly unsuccessful, but certainly not successful.

        Well, we agree that the efforts need to change. I strongly suspect that this will not happen, however, because I am inclined to think that the tactical decisions are heavily influenced by non-tactical motives.

        • Given how fast AIDS was spreading back in the 1980s, I'd say that having the same infection rate 25 years later is actually quite an accomplishment. Normally it would grow exponentially. That we've prevented that means we've done something right.

  4. “All this translates into unequal access to prevention and care,” said Dr. Strathdee.
    Right. It couldn't actually be because many Canadian municipalities started handing out needles to users and indirectly endorsed the practice of shooting up and made it mainstream, or that our Supreme Court forced our Government to leave a shoot-up centre in Vancouver open to operate and make sure that addicts got more of a fix rather than a cure.
    Nah, it must be the fact that society is not allowing equal "access to prevention and care."
    Whazzup doc?

  5. 'Inequities' in all the usual categories are drivers of the epidemic – that sounds like a plan for Big Government intervention – because that always works out so well. HIV infected immigrants should be turned away from Canada or sent home if they're already here.

    • Of course, AIDS is "society's" fault.

  6. It is really bothersome when the reporter (Andre Picard) doesn't let the facts get in the way of the narrative.

    From the graph in his own story, the number of new infections was 4500 (1985), 3800 (1990), 2600 (1995), 3000 (2000), 3100 (2005) and 3300 (2010). Canada's population on those same years was 25.8, 27.5, 29.3, 30.7, 32.4 and 34.1 million. Therefore the infection rate per million people in those respective years was 174, 138, 89, 98, 96, 97.

    The HIV infection rate dropped in half from 1985 to around 1995, rose up about 10% between 1995 and 2000, and has been constant ever since.

    • What are you talking about? The only graph in the story shows the 2008 infection rate by province. The only comparison to historical data is a pictorial of the infection rate by province in 1998.

      So where did you get your numbers from?

      I can't find data prior to 1995 by year (only cumulative) but for 1995 the Public Health Agency of Canada reports 2947 reports. At that time the population was 29 million (rate approx 10 per 100K people). In 2008 there were 3300 reports with a population of 33 million (10 per 100K people).

      In short, the rate is not improving.

  7. This is not limited in North America alone. Europe, Asia, and Africa's have seen a rise in numbers. Is there something wrong with IV's and blood collection? Are the controls to safeguard these areas not working at all? Are people tuning out on too much information or Is there less info?

  8. Listen! The start and continually spread of these mutations diseases have been known for years. And you all love your head being stuck deep in the sand in your attempts to be all knowing and encompassing. Well, then, live with it, cause it won't be getting any better. In fact, it is getting a lot worse, as the same sex now brings us the various fungus killer such as Cryptococcus gattii. And don't bother claiming it comes from "Bark". Or the pine beetle!! Enjoy!

  9. Is there any study that correlates the rise of drug addiction to the rise of HIV infection? Why is there no serious move towards education against drug addiction? There seems to be less done in this area compared to efforts done on anti smoking, and drinking & driving campaigns.