Saskatchewan Marks World Aids Day

NOVEMBER 29, 2013

Saskatchewan continues to make progress on reducing HIV rates and supporting people living with HIV.  Today the province released the 2012 HIV/AIDS annual statistical report in conjunction with World AIDS Day, December 1.

The report shows the number of new HIV cases continues to decline, although testing has increased.  There were 177 new HIV cases in Saskatchewan in 2012, a five per cent decrease from 2011.  Increased access to HIV testing has resulted in 23 per cent more tests in 2012 compared to 2009, prior to the release of the province’s HIV Strategy.

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and reinforce our government’s commitment to reduce HIV rates in our province,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said.  “We continue our efforts to encourage testing, provide access to care, and improve the lives of people living with HIV.”

The province allocated $10 million for the Saskatchewan HIV Strategy 2010-2014.  Currently in its fourth year, the strategy has made significant progress in a number of areas:

  • A higher number of HIV patients are engaged in treatment and are experiencing successful outcomes;
  • Admissions to hospital with serious AIDS-related diseases are decreasing;
  • There have been no babies born with HIV through mother-to-child transmission from 2011 onward;
  • A new formula program has been made available for infants born to mothers living with HIV to prevent transmission through breastfeeding; and
  • Routine testing for HIV is now offered in Saskatchewan to allow for earlier access to services, care, and treatment.

“We are listening carefully to people with HIV, to make sure we can adjust our programs to meet their needs,” HIV Provincial Leadership Team Medical Health Officer Dr. Johnmark Opondo said.  “We will keep building on the strong foundation achieved by Saskatchewan’s HIV Strategy, to ensure our progress continues.

“HIV is a preventable disease; therefore, it’s important that we continue to increase awareness and provide education.”

More than 30 positions were added over the past three years to enhance services along the continuum for HIV care.  HIV-specific training and education opportunities have also increased.  Recently, the first annual Prairies HIV Conference was held in Saskatoon, and brought together more than 300 participants.

The 2012 HIV/AIDS annual statistical report is posted on the Ministry of Health website atwww.health.gov.sk.ca/hiv-aids-reports.  Information on HIV/AIDS and provincial initiatives is available on the ministry’s website and the HIV Provincial Leadership Team website atwww.skhiv.ca.

The province has proclaimed World AIDS Day (December 1), AIDS Awareness Week (November 24 -December 1), and Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week (December 1-5).

A series of events and activities are being organized by health regions in partnership with the HIV Provincial Leadership Team during this period.

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For more information, contact:

Tyler McMurchy
Health
Regina
Phone: 306-787-4083
Email: tmcmurchy@health.gov.sk.ca

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