Canada’s health: What you might not know about HIV in Canadian communities

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Health and Wellness

Despite significant steps in awareness, prevention and treatment, HIV and viral hepatitis remain prevalent in Canada’s public health landscape. According to Statistics Canada, almost 63,000 Canadians are currently living with HIV/AIDS.

Strides have been made to reduce transmission rates and improve access to life-saving medications; yet challenges like stigma, discrimination and unequal health-care access continue. According to data from Public Health Agency of Canada, one in eight people with HIV are unaware of their infection, which highlights the ongoing challenge of HIV detection and prevention.

The early stages of an HIV infection can appear as flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, sore throat and muscle and joint pain, along with painful, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash. However, symptoms can vary, and some might not experience any during this phase. This is why the need for regular testing and ongoing public education is needed to prevent HIV transmission and help people get diagnosed and access treatment sooner.

Gaps in HIV prevalence and health-care access exist among different populations, including Indigenous Peoples. While Indigenous communities represent just five per cent of Canada’s total population, they make up 18.2 per cent of all new HIV cases and are two to five times more likely to contract hepatitis C than non-Indigenous groups.

Earlier this year, Gilead Sciences Canada worked in partnership with CAAN Communities, Alliances & Networks to develop programs that address the health needs and services of Indigenous communities. This program is one example of a support option that is working to foster collaboration between government agencies, health-care providers, community organizations and affected individuals toward the goal of ending the HIV epidemic in Canada. Learn more about this initiative at caan.ca/glows

Related Content

Top tips to keep cool in the heat

Top tips to keep cool in the heat

Heat waves, with their hot temperatures and often high humidity, can harm your health and can even be deadly. To help you stay healthy, here are some tips from Health Canada. Take a break Plan your outdoor activities for the morning or evening when the temperature is...

read more
Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Know the warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke

The hot summer heat is here, and with it comes the risk for heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can range from mild conditions like heat cramps and rashes to moderate illnesses like heat exhaustion, and more severe outcomes like heatstroke. As the body gets...

read more
4 ways to stay active and safe this summer

4 ways to stay active and safe this summer

Regardless of your preference – be it soccer, pickleball, bootcamp class or tai-chi – outdoor activity is an important part of how many of us maintain a healthy mind and body. But being active outdoors during hot weather can have health risks. Here are four tips to...

read more
6 tips to improve your sleep

6 tips to improve your sleep

Sleep is more than just rest – it’s your body’s ultimate repair session, boosting immunity and revitalizing you from head to toe. And for people living with arthritis and chronic pain, there is a vicious cycle in which pain causes stress, prevents good sleep and leads...

read more
3 ways people living with HIV can access support

3 ways people living with HIV can access support

When faced with a life-changing diagnosis, such as HIV, you may experience unique challenges, from physical health concerns to psychological and social ones. Yet, among these challenges, you may find support systems that provide guidance and empowerment. If you or...

read more
5 tips to beat arthritis fatigue this summer

5 tips to beat arthritis fatigue this summer

We only get a few months of warm weather in Canada. So, as temperatures rise, you may want to get outside and enjoy every moment. But when you have a chronic condition such as arthritis, extreme fatigue – the feeling of needing to rest even before you start an...

read more