Sask. reports record number of new HIV cases
Saskatchewan healthcare officials announced that the province underwent a record breaking increase of new HIV cases, with 237 new diagnoses in 2021.
The increase, driven in part by intravenous drug use, marks a 30 per cent increase from the year previous.
Saskatchewan routinely exceeds the national average of HIV cases per capita, but 2021 marked an all time high with the provincial rate being approximately three times the national average.
Dr. Johnmark Opondo, a medical health officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, explained there are multiple new factors to the increase in infections.
“The key drivers of HIV transmission in our community, in Saskatchewan, which is in various proportions, are needle sharing (with) partners and sexual transmission,” he said.
“So that’s really the underlying foundation of why our numbers are up.”
According to Margaret Kisikaw Piyesis, the CEO of Communities Alliances and Networks, the pandemic denying essential services to those suffering with addictions, had a lot to do with the historic increase.
“We’ve seen some of the services which are most essential to people who are actively using close down,” she explained. “So needle exchange programs, there was limited access to care, treatment and support for people who are most at risk of HIV, Hepatitis C, Syphilis, some of the other diseases that were have in our communities around addictions.”
There are services to minimize the spread of HIV. The Newo Yotina Friendship Centre offers clean needles but only has enough funding to operate during the day.
“We’re trying our best to send out clean needles, clean pipes, clean things so that you know it’s not being transmitted in that direction but I feel like we can’t work at our maximum capacity with the hours that we have,” said Emile Gariepy, who works at the centre.
“If we could reach out with longer hours, then we could reach out to more people.”
Due to the pandemic putting stress on the healthcare system as well as other essential services, it is not surprising that the numbers have increased, according to Opondo.
“If you stop attending care, or you skip your medication, that becomes a little bit of a risk factor,” he said. “There’s enough of an underlying pressure of HIV and when the pandemic and other issues distracted our patients from attending care, you know that was enough for our HIV numbers to inch back upward again.”
Going forward, Opondo maintains that the best way to the control the numbers is getting those already living with HIV the treatment they need, being proactive and educating the public on the risks of the disease.
“When we had an HIV focused strategy from 2006 to 2011, we did show by bringing focus and bringing all the attention we could to addressing HIV, we were able to bring the numbers down,” he said.
“So I am hopeful we can address the situation.”
New HIV cases reported in Saskatchewan (Annual)
- 2009 - 199
- 2010 - 174
- 2011 - 188
- 2012 - 184
- 2013 - 129
- 2014 - 121
- 2015 - 163
- 2016 - 174
- 2017 - 177
- 2018 - 168
- 2019 - 199
- 2020 - 184
- 2021 - 237
(Sources: Canada Communicable Disease Report: 2009-2014 / Government of Canada / Saskatchewan Ministry of Health).
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation Thursday amid a mass revolt by top members of his government, marking an end to three tumultuous years in power in which he brazenly bent and sometimes broke the rules of British politics.
Canada is headed towards a moderate recession, but the economic contraction is expected to be short-lived compared to previous recessions, economists with Royal Bank of Canada predict.
Canada elections commissioner reviewing information related to Conservative allegations against Brown
The Commissioner of Canada Elections' office says it has received and is reviewing information related to the allegations raised by the Conservative Party of Canada that now-disqualified leadership contender Patrick Brown's campaign violated federal election financing rules.
Boris Johnson was due to resign as Britain's prime minister on Thursday, bringing an end to a turbulent two and half years in office and triggering a search for a new leader.
Several vaccine manufacturers are racing to develop formulas that take into account the more infectious Omicron variant now driving cases, while policymakers are laying the groundwork for another large-scale vaccine blitz.
As concerns grow that Canada's red-hot real estate market may be starting to cool, one real estate agent in Toronto says that some homeowners in the city are becoming increasingly 'desperate to sell right now.'
With donations of cadavers falling, medical students may lack 'fundamental knowledge' of human anatomy, says a UBC medical professor.
A crash involving a fire hydrant was the first in a chain of events that led to a chaotic scene in a Saskatoon intersection.
Starting Thursday, riders looking to take Access Transit to get to their destinations will notice a shift in service over the next three weeks.
Two Ukrainian refugees, a brother and sister, are settling into their new home in Saskatoon.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP said what they once were investigating as a suspicious death has now been deemed a homicide.
Following years of struggle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manitoba hotel industry is experiencing a new issue – labour shortages.
With the first full-scale Calgary Stampede rapidly approaching, some Calgarians are getting into the spirit a little early.
The rides are going up, concession stands are waiting, stuffed animals are displayed at games tables and the Calgary Stampede is raring to go Friday in its first return to full capacity since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Significant storm risk in Alberta Thursday afternoon; Calgary included.
The Oilers are going back to the original royal blue and orange look the team wore during the 80s dynasty.
It's setting up to be a very active day across central and north-central Alberta with a high risk of severe storms late this afternoon and this evening.
A 45-year-old cyclist is dead and RCMP are searching for a car with suspected windshield damage in connection with the crash south of Red Deer.
Police are investigating after a woman was knocked unconscious following an apparent random attack at a Toronto transit station.
Toronto residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens in their condo building
Residents living in Toronto’s west end say they have been left utterly exhausted after an alleged nightclub opened up at the base of their condominium.
A 24-year-old man shot on Banff Avenue in the city’s south end on Tuesday has died.
Fans will be packing into the grounds at LeBreton Flats tonight for the first in-person Bluesfest since 2019.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Millions of drivers are still waiting for their rebate cheques issued when gas prices reached record highs in British Columbia, and although prices continue to climb, they shouldn't expect anything more in the mail.
Surrey drivers may need to alter their route in to work Thursday morning due to a car crash involving a hydro pole.
As Quebec enters the seventh wave of COVID-19, the province's health minister says the situation is 'under control for the moment' but is urging residents to be vigilant.
The Supreme Court of Canada is refusing to hear the challenge by Pierre Karl Péladeau and his brother, Érik Péladeau, in a case concerning their father's inheritance against their sister, Anne-Marie Péladeau.
People who are looking to swing a club at one Vancouver Island golf course have more than sand traps and water hazards to look out for.
His famous guitar was stolen almost 46 years ago, but on Wednesday rock legend Randy Bachman finally brought the prized instrument home.
The Trans-Canada Highway was reduced to single-lane traffic in both directions due to a truck fire Thursday morning.
The body of a man who went missing from King’s Wharf in Dartmouth Wednesday night has been found.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
The Canadian Coast Guard is saying goodbye to a storied research vessel today and looking for a replacement to carry out the science projects the ship has hosted for the past six decades.
A popular Sudbury summer music festival kicks off its annual event celebrating five decades of live music, entertainment and workshops.
A 33-year old suspect in Sault Ste. Marie is facing numerous charges, including forcible confinement and uttering threats, following an incident Wednesday on Cunningham Road.
A 19-year-old man is facing charges after a stabbing Wednesday night at a University of Waterloo residence.
Essex County OPP say police have seized more than $61 million worth of illegal cannabis from two production sites in Kingsville.
Once again due to staff shortages, the emergency departments at both Listowel and Wingham hospitals will be closed overal several upcoming dates.