At the start of the epidemic, AIDS was for most a death sentence. Most people died within months or a few years. Since the introduction of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 1996, HIV-related deaths have steadily declined in Canada. The number has dropped by 83%, from a peak of 1,764 deaths in 1995 down to 303 deaths in 2011.
The average life expectancy for HIV-positive Canadians is approaching that of HIV-negative Canadians in similar circumstances. A young person diagnosed with HIV today, who is connected to care and starts treatment shortly after becoming infected, can expect to live into their 70s or longer.
Note: Life expectancies differ based on when a person begins treatment, whether they are Aboriginal, male or female, and whether they use, or have used, injection drugs.