Canada: A Quarter of HIV-Infected Unaware of Their Condition: New Statistics for 2005 Say About 58,000 Canadians Are Living With the Disease
August 1, 2006
On Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHA) reported the number of residents living with HIV rose an estimated 16 percent from 2002 to 2005, to 58,000 people. While new infections were flat or rose slightly -- from an estimated 2,100-4,000 infections in 2002 to 2,300-4,500 in 2005 -- effective treatments are helping more patients live longer, said PHA.
"Mortality and morbidity has gone down significantly," said Dr. Frank Plummer, director-general of PHA's Center for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control. "These drugs are really lifesavers."
However, hidden to both health care providers and disease surveillance were those people who are unaware they are infected, said PHA. Its report said 27 percent of the 58,000 people estimated to have HIV are probably unaware of their serostatus.
Population segments most at risk are men who have sex with men and injection drug users (IDUs). Nonetheless, infections among heterosexual men and women are rising. Aboriginal Canadians and foreign-born persons are disproportionately affected.
Of those with HIV, 51 percent are gay men -- a community that continues to account for 45 percent of new infections. Women represent 20 percent of total infections and 27 percent of new infections in 2005. Infections through injection drug use declined from 19 percent of new cases in 2002 to 14 percent in 2005, which PHA attributed to evidence-based prevention efforts targeting IDUs. New infections among IDUs were still "unacceptably high," at an estimated 350-650 in 2005, said PHA.
08.01.06; Meagan Fitzpatrick
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.