HIV/AIDS Apathy a Tragedy: Medical Researchers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a National HIV/AIDS Conference
April 17, 2003
More than 400 medical researchers in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the 12th annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research heard reports on everything from new therapies to the relationship between HIV/AIDS and homophobia in aboriginal communities.Adapted from:
The good news is that HIV/AIDS-related deaths are on a downward trend, said Kathy Slayter, clinical coordinator in the division of infectious diseases at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center. "I don't want to say that this is a chronic, manageable disease, but with newer therapies, many people are living longer," she said.
It is when she speaks about adult sexual habits that Slayter's voice grows stern. "People are becoming infected at a steady rate. And there is an apathy about it," she said. "Because word has gone out that drugs are better, and that people who are infected are living longer, high-risk behavior has increased."
HIV/AIDS kills 15,000 people every day. In Ontario, new HIV diagnoses in the first three-quarters of 2002 increased by 25 percent. In Nova Scotia, almost 300 people have been diagnosed -- most of them Halifax residents. All regularly visit the province's only clinic at the QEII. About 20 more Nova Scotians are infected with HIV every year. "Most are gay men, but some are heterosexual men or women," Slayter said. "Men. Women. Senior citizens. They are all here."
Halifax Daily News
04.11.03; David Swick