Status of HIV/AIDS:
Epidemiology and Treatment
As of April 1997, there have been a cumulative total of 14, 836 cases of AIDS in Canada since the start of the epidemic. In compensation for under-reporting and delayed reporting it can be estimated that there actually have been about 20,000 AIDS cases in Canada. The estimated prevalence rate of HIV, according to the World Health Organization, is at 0.191 which indicates a decrease in cases since the start of the epidemic but still indicating that nine Canadians are infected every day. The general decline in AIDS cases can be attributed to governmental efforts regarding preventative/education campaigns in addition to improved treatments to delay the onset of AIDS.
The nation felt the most intense effects of the epidemic after a health disaster involving improperly screened blood. In the 1980's and early 90's, an estimated 1,200 Canadians were infected with HIV and 12,000-27,000 were infected with Hepatitis C. There has been a recent call for the financial compensation of these individuals.
On December 1, 1997, Canada's health minister announced an allotment of $211 million over the next five years to fight the AIDS epidemic. A specific strategy was announced with six goals including: 1)measures "to prevent the spread of HIV," 2)"to find and to provide effective vaccines, drugs, and therapy," 3)finding a cure, 4)ensuring treatment for people with HIV/AIDS, 5)"minimize the adverse impact of HIV and AIDS on individuals and communities," and 6)"get at the social and the economic factors that increase the risk of infection. A ministerial council on AIDS will be created determine the plan of action(UPI).
There have been areas where the nation has been particularly concerned. One of Canada's most popular vacation spots, Vancouver, is being profoundly affected for being a Western nation. The rate of infection among drug users is estimated to be at 20% causing health officials to declare the first medical emergency in the history of Vancouver. Of particular concern is the Native population whose rates are increasing as a result of poor economic conditions at rural reservations.