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International News

Ottawa: Report Calls for Boost in Funding to Fight AIDS

April 15, 2003

A yearly investment of approximately $1.2 million-$2.3 million (US$825,000-$1.6 million) could cut Ottawa's HIV/AIDS infection rate in half over the next five years, according to a consultant's report commissioned by the Ottawa-Carleton Council on AIDS. By concentrating on creating awareness campaigns for at-risk groups, the report suggested that such a program would pay for itself with savings to the Canadian health care system. "We're really not asking for a huge amount of money for these programs. Spending on these programs has basically not changed over the last 10 years," said Dr. Geoff Dunkley, Ottawa's associate medical officer of health.

Ottawa's population living with HIV/AIDS has doubled over the last 10 years, according to health officials. "Among reported cases there's more than 2,600 people in Ottawa living with HIV or AIDS because new drugs and therapies have extended life expectancies after infection," said Ron Chaplin, chair of the Ottawa-Carleton Council on AIDS. "The community services for care and treatment of people with HIV and AIDS are being overwhelmed. This proposed spending is an effective way to catch up," added Dunkley.

The most alarming numbers found in the report concern the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among some of the most high-risk populations -- gay men and IV drug users. "About 20 percent of [IV drug users] are infected with HIV and perhaps 70 percent of them have hepatitis C," said Chaplin. There were 79 new HIV infections in 2001. The early 1990s witnessed the highest increases in new infections, at about 130 annually.

Back to other CDC news for April 15, 2003

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Adapted from:
Ottawa Citizen
04.15.03; Gare Joyce

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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.
See Also
More on HIV in Canada