Observed worldwide on December 1st, World AIDS Day is the moment of the year where millions of people across the globe come together to commemorate those who have lost their lives to HIV, reflect upon progress made and recommit to the important work that remains in response to HIV.
On this World AIDS Day, 2016, there is a lot of progress to be celebrated. According to CATIE – Canada’s AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, due to groundbreaking research, treatment of HIV has extended the life expectancy of young Canadians living with HIV to their early 70s. Early diagnosis is vital to ensuring that people with HIV get this life saving treatment.
“HIV testing is extremely important for ensuring that the progress made in response to HIV continues. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the better the chance that the individual can live a long and healthy life,” said Kristin Bateman, a public health nurse at Algoma Public Health.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding HIV transmission that prevent people from getting tested. CATIE reports that 21% of Canadians living with HIV are unaware that they have HIV.
“In Canada, 7 people are infected with HIV each day with almost 33% of transmissions occurring through heterosexual sex. Everyone should know their HIV status. Get tested especially if you are having unprotected sex or sharing needles or other drug equipment,” said Bateman.
Know your status. Contact Algoma Public Health at 705-541-7100 for confidential HIV testing and counselling or visit our website to find out more.