This article was published on December 3rd, 2014
Recognized around the world, December is AIDS Awareness Month. The month long awareness campaign is kicked-off on December 1, with Worlds AIDS Day. From 1981-2012, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people around the world. There are an estimated 35.3 million people living with HIV, making it the single most important global public health issue in recorded history.
An estimated 2 million people die each year from AIDS. In recent years, improved access to antiretroviral drugs have people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Since 2011, the theme of World AIDS Day has been Getting to Zeo. Education, awareness and prevention methods are all part of the formula to help reduce the number of new infections of HIV each year. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), also know by the brand name drug, Truvada, is one of the many treatments that health professionals around the world are recognizing as an important preventative method to stop the spread of HIV amongst high-risk individuals.
The use of PrEP is endorsed by the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control in the United States, and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. Currently, Health Canada does not endorse the use of Truvada as PrEP, citing they require a formal application to come from the drug manufacturer, Gilead Sciences. A Gilead Sciences spokesperson recently stated that the are at a stand-still with Health Canada on their application.
Do your part. Get tested frequently and know your status.
Here are the facts about HIV/AIDS in Canada*:
- Every 3 hours, someone is infected with HIV
- Of the 71,300 people living with HIV are gay or bisexual men who have sex with men.
- 1 in 4 people living with HIV are women.
- 4% of the Canadian population is Aboriginal, but they make up 12% of new cases of HIV each year.
- Of the people living with HIV, 25% do not know they have it.
In 2011, British Columbia was estimated to have 11,7000 people living with HIV and an estimate of 380 new HIV infections*.
*Source: CATIE, Canada’s source for HIV and Hepatitis C information