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November 29, 2005
HIV cases rise 20% in Canada
New HIV cases in Canada have risen 20% during the past five years, with gay and bisexual men accounting for about 45% of all new HIV diagnoses in the country, according to a report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS. The Toronto Star reports that about 30% of the new HIV cases were acquired through heterosexual sex, and that about one quarter of all new infections are occurring among women, up from about 10% a decade ago. About 25% of the country’s new HIV cases were reported among injection-drug users. Aileen Carroll, federal minister of international cooperation, says poverty, drug use, and increased sexual risk taking are the main factors fueling the increase in infections across the country. “When you consider how readily available information is to young people, when you consider how readily available are means to protect, it's very disconcerting to see how risk taking continues," she told a news conference. (Advocate.com)
HIV cases increase 20 per cent in Canada
58,000 people diagnosed with virus
Women account for a quarter of new cases
Nov. 22, 2005. 01:00 AM
MEDICAL REPORTER - Toronto Star
Almost 58,000 people in Canada have been diagnosed with HIV, a 20 per cent rise in the past five years, with women accounting for a quarter of new cases, the United Nations says.
While the government has spent considerable money to fight the disease at home, "the statistics continue to expand," Aileen Carroll, federal minister of international co-operation, told a news conference yesterday to unveil UNAIDS update on the epidemic.
The largest group of people infected were men having sex with men, accounting for 45 per cent of new HIV cases in Canada last year.
About 30 per cent of new cases were through heterosexual transmission and the rest were due to intravenous drug use, the U.N. reported.
Women now account for over a quarter of new diagnoses, compared to less than 10 per cent a decade ago.
Young women aged 15 to 29 are particularly at risk, representing 42 per cent of newly diagnosed women in Canada last year, up from 13 per cent 20 years ago.
The U.N. also tracks AIDS cases.
While the number of annual AIDS cases has dropped in Canada from 1,776 10 years ago to 237 last year due to antiretroviral treatments, a growing proportion are among black and aboriginal Canadians, the report says.
The spread in Canada is largely a problem of poverty and drug use, Carroll said, but "when you consider how readily available information is to young people, when you consider how readily available are means to protect ... it's very disconcerting to see how the risk-taking continues."
The problem is the same in the United States where rates, particularly among women, continue to rise and "we should not have been caught off guard," said Helen Gayle, director of HIV, TB and reproductive health for the Gates Foundation. The estimated number of people living with HIV in the U.S. at the end of 2003 exceeded one million for the first time.
Around the globe, close to 5 million new HIV infections were recorded this year, 3.2 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa, the report says. Another 3 million people died of AIDS-related diseases, more than half a million of them children.
Today, the total number of people living with HIV stands at 40.3 million, double the number a decade ago.
"Despite progress made in a small but growing number of countries (Kenya, Zimbabwe and some Caribbean countries), the AIDS epidemic continues to outstrip global efforts to contain it," said UNAIDS director Dr. Peter Piot.
"It is clear that a rapid increase in the scale and scope of HIV prevention programs is urgently needed. We must move from small projects with short-term horizons to long-term comprehensive strategies."
AIDS has killed more than 25 million people since it was first recognized 25 years ago, "making it one of the most destructive epidemics in recorded history," the report says.
The drop in the number of new cases shows that "global investments and commitment can have an impact on the devastation of this disease," said Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The fund needs $7.1 billion (U.S.) for the next two years but so far, has received pledges of only $3.8 billion from participating countries.
Carroll announced $60 million in new funding to fight the epidemic worldwide, including $12 million for research on a vaccine and $1.2 million for an AIDS conference to be held in August.