Ottawa: Rates of HIV Infection Dropping
April 21, 2003
The number of new HIV infections in Ottawa is dropping, but a steadily increasing overall caseload is putting pressure on the citys health care system, according to the Ottawa-Carleton Council on AIDS. In 2001, 67 men and 27 women were infected with HIV, for a total of 2,670 active cases -- a doubling in the past decade -- according to a report the council submitted to the health social service committee Friday. This is a considerably lower number of new infections from the peak in 1990, when 17 women and 120 men contracted the disease.Adapted from:
Although new HIV infection rates are down, better AIDS drugs and treatments are contributing to caseload increases. And the citys health programs are increasingly under strain, particularly among services such as Bruce House and the AIDS Committee of Ottawa, and also general health and addiction treatment clinics. There is certainly pressure on these resources, acknowledged Dr. Robert Cushman, Ottawas medical officer of health.
There is evidence that some city programs are making headway in reducing new HIV infections, however. Since 2000, just three female and nine male IV drug users contracted HIV, down from two females and 23 males in 2000. City initiatives like needle exchange and retrieval programs appear to have helped lower the new infection rate. But AIDS council chair Ron Chaplin cautioned that Ottawa still has a relatively high IV infection rate, with 18 percent of the user population infected. Chaplin said this is because the most commonly injected drug is cocaine, which needs to be injected more frequently, so users are more likely to reuse needles.
04.19.2003; Elaine O’Connor
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.