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About HIV/Aids in Canada
ViiV Healthcare is a specialist HIV company dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS.
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus and is responsible for causing AIDS. In Canada, approximately 71,300 people are living with HIV infection or AIDS. In 2011, the estimated incidence (i.e., number of people newly diagnosed with HIV or AIDS that year) was 3,175.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the rate of positive HIV test reports in Saskatchewan. In 2012, the rate in Saskatchewan was 17.0 per 100,000 population, a rate nearly three times the national 2012 rate of 5.9.
But that doesn’t give us the whole picture. There’s a hidden epidemic of undiagnosed HIV infection: about one quarter of all Canadians infected with HIV are not aware of it, either because they haven’t been tested or because they don’t know the results of their test. Because of this, they have no opportunity to benefit from effective treatment and appropriate counselling.
In Canada, as in the rest of the world, HIV doesn’t play favourites. It infects women and men; it infects people of all ages and ethnicities and skin colours. However, there are several groups in Canada who are at greater risk of infection:
- men who have sex with men
- injecting drug users
- people in prison
- youth (age 15–29 years)
- Aboriginal peoples
- women (age 15 years and older)
- people from countries where HIV is endemic
Of those who do receive a diagnosis, one third do not undergo treatment. Only by reaching out effectively to groups at risk will we realise UNAID’s vision of Getting to Zero: zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths.
Getting to Zero is doable only if we eliminate discrimination against and stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS. It means providing access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support.
Compared with the earlier decades (1980–2000) of the epidemic, many people living with HIV/AIDS are now enjoying a longer life. This is thanks to advances in antiretroviral therapy and other medications for side effects of treatment. However, these advances bring new medical, psychological and social challenges such as living with chronic disease, coping with concurrent illness and managing drug resistance.
Through its products and programs, ViiV Healthcare Canada is committed to tackling these challenges in an effort to bring long-term, effective solutions to those whose lives are touched by HIV.