HIV and AIDS

Ontario HIV/AIDS Infection Rates

The estimated number of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ontario has risen significantly, from 15,904 people living with HIV/AIDS in 1999 to 26,627 in 2008, which represents an increase of 67%. The increase is due to decreased mortality related to more effective drug therapy and continued new HIV infections in specific populations.  There were 1,618 new infections in 2008.

There are five HIV at-risk populations in Ontario: gay and bisexual men, African and Caribbean Ontarians, people who use injection drugs, Aboriginal Peoples, and women (who are members of the above populations or engage in HIV risk activity with them).

There are many reasons why the HIV epidemic continues to grow, including social stigma and social determinants of health."

As of 2008:

  • There were an estimated 15,072 gay or bisexual men infected with HIV in the province. This accounted for 57% of HIV-infected people in Ontario. In the same year, gay and bisexual men represented 46%, or 745, of the 1,618 new HIV infections.
  • African and Caribbean Ontarians infected heterosexually accounted for 18% of people living with HIV/AIDS (4,878) and 29% of new HIV infections, or 466.
  • People who use injection drugs, male and female, accounted for 7% of all people living with HIV/AIDS in the province (1,988) and 6% of new HIV infections or 96.
  • Women who are represented in the above populations or who engage in HIV risk activity with them accounted for 18% of people living with HIV/AIDS in the province (4,749) and 26% of new infections, or 425.
  • Men and women infected heterosexually and who did not have a history of injection drug use, come from an African or Caribbean country or were gay or bisexual men accounted for 15% of people living with HIV/AIDS in the province (3,920) and 17% of new HIV infections, or 282.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada's HIV/AIDS data for 2008 indicates that Aboriginal peoples in Canada are over-represented in Canadian HIV/AIDS statistics.  Although representing only 3.8% of the Canadian population, Aboriginal peoples comprised an estimated 12.5%  of new HIV infections and 8.0% of prevalent HIV infections in Canada.  Overall, the rate of new HIV infections for Aboriginal peoples is estimated to be about 3.6 times higher than among non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

This table provides a breakdown of the estimated number of annual new infections (HIV incidence) and the estimated number of people living with HIV in Ontario (HIV prevalence) in 2008.

Table 1: HIV Incidence and Prevalence by Population 2008

Population HIV incidence % HIV prevalence %
 MSM 745 46% 15,072 57%
 MSM-IDU 30 2% 617 2%
 IDU 96 6% 1,988 7%
 HIV-endemic 466 29% 4,878 18%
 Heterosexual 282 17% 3,920 15%
 Blood transfusion 0 0 152 <1%
 Total 1,618 100% 26,627 100%

Legend :

MSM : Men who have sex with men
IDU : Injection drug user
MSM-IDU : Men who have sex with men and are injection drug users
Endemic : People from Africa and the Caribbean, where rates of HIV in the general population are high
Heterosexual : People who have sex exclusively with those of the opposite sex.

The Ontario government monitors the HIV/AIDS epidemic with the assistance of Dr. Robert Remis, an epidemiologist who works out of the Ontario HIV Epidemiological Monitoring Unit at the University of Toronto. For a copy of the latest Report on HIV/AIDS in Ontario 2008, please visit the following website: http://www.phs.utoronto.ca/ohemu/tech%20reports.html

(The above estimates are based on epidemiological modeling by the Unit).

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