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Fast Facts About Gay Men and HIV in Canada

Fall 2011

: The pink triangle had its origin in Nazi concentration camps, where gay men were forced to wear a downward-pointing pink triangle, to identify them as gay. The pink triangle -- now pointing upwards -- has been reclaimed as an international symbol of gay pride.1

1969: The year gay sex was decriminalized in Canada.2

1978: The year the rainbow flag was designed by Gilbert Baker in San Francisco, to represent LGBT pride and diversity.1

Also the year the federal government amended Canada's Immigration Act, removing a ban on homosexual immigrants.2

1981: The beginning of the AIDS epidemic when unusual cases of Kaposi's sarcoma, PCP (Pneumocystis pneumonia) and other opportunistic infections began to show up in gay men in New York and San Francisco.1


1982: The early name for AIDS was coined: gay-related immune deficiency, or GRID.1

2005: The year that Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages.2

247,000: The estimated number of men in Canada over the age of 19 who identify as gay or bisexual.3

24,325: The number of male same-sex couples in Canada, according to the 2006 Census.4

9%: The percentage of married same-sex male couples in Canada who had children in the home, according to the 2006 Census.4

22%: The proportion of homosexual and bisexual men and women aged 18 to 59 who reported an unmet healthcare need in 2003 -- nearly twice the proportion of heterosexuals.5

188: The number of hate crimes in Canada in 2009 that were motivated by sexual orientation -- up 18% from 2008.6

33,360: The estimated number of men who have sex with men who were living with HIV in 2008.3

19%: The estimated percentage of men who have sex with men who were living with HIV in 2008 but were unaware they had it.3

1,000-1,900: The estimated number of new HIV cases among men who have sex with men in Canada in 2008.3


  1. Fun Trivia: Gay History. Accessed June 8, 2011.
  2. Mapleleafweb. Accessed June 8, 2011.
  3. The epidemiology of HIV in gay men and other men who have sex with men. Accessed June 8, 2011.
  4. 2006 Census: Family portrait: Continuity and change in Canadian families and households in 2006: Findings. Accessed June 8, 2011.
  5. The Daily: Canadian Community Health Survey. Accessed June 8, 2011.
  6. Statistics Canada. Police-reported hate crimes. Accessed June 14, 2011].

This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. It is a part of the publication Prevention in Focus: Spotlight on Programming and Research. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

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