Canada: HIV Cases Rise Sharply in Ottawa Region
August 18, 2011
New HIV diagnoses in Ottawa were "significantly higher" during the first half of this year, its public health unit reported. The city saw 46 new cases, compared to 32 during the same period in 2010.
"This one clearly crosses a threshold of statistical significance," said Isra Levy, the city's chief public health doctor. "It's an increase of nearly 50 percent."
Nine of every 10 diagnoses are in men, and two-thirds are men who have sex with men. The report notes "year-to-date rates of HIV among 20- to 29-year-old men are the highest they have been in the last decade," though higher rates were also seen for men ages 30-39.
"Some people continue to practice what we would regard as less-safe sex," Levy said. One possible reason is that they have become less cautious due to treatment optimism, he said. Another is that technology makes it easier to find like-minded people desiring unprotected sex.
In January, the unit opened an expanded STD clinic to cope with overwhelming demand. This enables serving more than the 1,500 patients seen each month previously. However, two months of renovations at the Clarence Street clinic meant that only the most urgent cases were seen there, while staff members were shifted to other centers. The sexual health clinic conducts about 300 HIV tests every month.
Also during the first six months of 2011: Chlamydia reports rose to 1,189 from 1,161 during the same period last year; syphilis cases declined from 77 to 54; and gonorrhea dropped from 126 cases to 117. Despite the dip in syphilis and gonorrhea, Levy noted the figures are still dramatically higher than a few years ago, when Ottawa typically logged two to four syphilis cases annually.
08.09.2011; David Reevely
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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