September 12, 2008
New HIV cases in Alberta increased 29 percent in 2007, with the majority of cases reported in people ages 25-29, AIDS advocates report.
In 2007, the province logged 225 new HIV cases -- up from 175 two years ago. Of these, 99 were in Calgary and 89 in Edmonton. Calgary has now overtaken Edmonton for having the largest portion of new cases, said Capri Rasmussen of AIDS Calgary. The reason may be an increase in Calgary's population, with more young people moving to the city for jobs, she said. According to the group, Edmonton has more cases linked to intravenous drug use, while Calgary tends more toward homosexual transmission.
Rasmussen said complacency is a major concern. "We don't necessarily think of HIV as being as serious as it was," she said. "These are people who have always lived in the age of AIDS, they don't recognize how devastating it's been," she said of young people. "They're also in the prime of their lives, trying new things."
Other drivers of the disease are poverty, drug use, and homelessness, Rasmussen said. "There are issues around poverty and addictions and addictions support," she said.
"I would love to see a day when we'd have no new infections and adequate resources to address them and until then, we have a big job to do," said Rasmussen.