20 years after the first World AIDS Day, the disease remains a global epidemic

HIV/AIDS remains one of the most devastating diseases on earth – ever

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) remains one of the most devastating diseases on earth – ever.

HIV/AIDS knows no boundaries. It attacks men and women and their children. It attacks people of all nations, of every age and at every socio-economic level.

In developed countries where medical care is advanced, diagnosis and treatment are too. In developing countries and countries in conflict where medical care is compromised, so are diagnosis and treatment.

Wherever HIV/AIDS appears, there are stories of heartbreak and triumph. Fear and ignorance still remain, but they are countered now by knowledge and compassion. And everywhere there is HIV/AIDS, there is caring.

December 1, 2008 marks the 20th year of World AIDS Day. This year, as you wear the red ribbon, consider these few statistics, and then act to help eradicate HIV/AIDS here and around the world.

HIV in Canada:

  • At the end of 2005, there were an estimated 58,000 people in Canada living with HIV.
  • 30 per cent were unaware that they were infected.
  • An estimated 2,300 to 4,500 new HIV infections occur in Canada each year.
  • 63,604 positive HIV tests have been reported to the Centre for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control from the start of testing in November 1985 to the end of June 2007.
  • In recent years, about 25 per cent of new adult HIV diagnoses have been among women.

AIDS in Canada:

  • AIDS reporting began in 1979.
  • 20,669 AIDS diagnoses had been reported in Canada by the end of 2006.
  • At least 15,556 people with AIDS have died.
  • Women accounted for seven per cent of AIDS cases reported between 1979 and 1994; in 2005, that proportion rose to 23 per cent.
  • In recent years, the most notable trend has been the increase in diagnoses among young women ages 15 to 29.

For more information about HIV/AIDS, go to World AIDS Campaign, or the B.C. Persons with AIDS Society.