Rates of HIV in Saskatoon increased in 2015 with new cases decreasing in 2016
- EFN Staff | December 05, 2016
Early detection and treatment is important for HIV positive individuals, helping them live longer, have healthier lives and to reduce the risk of passing it on to others.
An updated Saskatoon Health Region online report "Better Health for All", released today in conjunction with World AIDS Day, reveals that the Region and its partners need to ensure HIV testing and treatment remains a priority.
"Although the increase in new HIV cases reported in 2015 (51) has been offset by a decrease in cases in 2016, there is still need for concern," says Dr. Johnmark Opondo, Saskatoon Health Region Deputy Medical Health Officer. "Added together over ten years, there are many cases to be managed and long-term engagement continues to be challenging. The good news is that treatment is working for those who receive anti-retrovirals. More patients, however, need to be on treatment.
Saskatoon Health Region is encouraging people to ask for HIV testing. Testing is available through family physicians or at any sexual health clinic, including Population and Public Health, Saskatoon Sexual Health Clinic, University of Saskatchewan Student Health Clinic, and OUT Saskatoon.
The Better Health For All report shows:
- There was a 55 per cent increase in reported cases (51) in 2015 compared to 2014. The increase corresponds with an increase in reported injection drug use and in men who reported having sex with men, both risks associated with HIV infection.
- Heterosexual sex accounted for 16 per cent of HIV transmissionin 2015.
- Male sex with men also accounted for 16 per cent of transmission in 2015, and is a risk category that has steadily increased over the last five years.
- Since 2006, one in every six HIV positive individuals in Saskatoon Health Region has died.
- The Region continues to better serve HIV positive individuals by linking all new cases to treatment services as soon as possible (86 per cent were linked within three months of diagnosis in 2015 as compared to 61 per cent five years ago). There is little or no difference in linkage to care by ethnicity.
- In 2014, 72 per cent of new HIV patients were retained in care 16 months after HIV diagnosis.
- Almost half of all the patients diagnosed since 2011 had an undetectable level of virus in their blood. An undetectable level of HIV virus means the risk of passing on the virus is reduced and individuals can lead healthy normal lives.
- Access to HIV testing continues to improve through expanded testing and screening services. In 2015, the Region conducted 26,932 HIV blood tests – a 65 per cent increase over testing volumes in 2011.
- Prenatal HIV testing is routinely offered in Saskatchewan, and more women are being screened for HIV during pregnancy. More HIV positive mothers are receiving antiretroviral treatment during labour and delivery, resulting in no cases of mother-to-infant transmission of HIV in the Region since 2011.
Read the full report and select one-page summaries at: www.communityview.ca/infographic_SHR_hiv.html