Today we present some HIV stats and facts in the lead up to our Ribbon Rouge Gala, November 28th at the ATB Arts Barn
People don’t think of the western world when they think of HIV. They don’t tend to think of women either. The stigma that HIV carries pushes people living with this infection into silence along with various psycho-social difficulties. Here are some HIV stats and facts.
In 2011, 71,3000 Canadians were living with HIV. This is an increase of 11% since 2008. In Alberta, there were 255 new cases of HIV reported bringing the total to 6.2 people per 100,000. And most revealing of all? About one quarter of people living with HIV in Canada are unaware that they have HIV.
Other information, that people seem unaware of is that 28% of new HIV infections in Canada are in women. Edmonton and Northern Alberta have the highest infections rates for all STIs other than Syphilis. Globally, HIV is the leading killer of women of child bearing age.
So what exactly is HIV? #TheBasics
HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, is a virus that weakens your immune system and decreases your body’s ability to defend against illness and disease. You can be infected with HIV and not have any symptoms for years, and during that time you can pass the disease on to other people.
There are five body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone: blood, semen (including pre-cum), rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, and breast milk. HIV can only get passed when one of these fluids from an HIV-positive person gets exposed to another person – through broken skin, the opening of the penis or wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum, or foreskin. HIV cannot pass through healthy, unbroken skin.
The two main ways that HIV can be transmitted are through sex without a barrier like without condoms (so called: unprotected anal or vaginal sex), or by sharing needles or other drug injection equipment. HIV can also be passed, though much less often, through:
- from mother to child during pregnancy or during birth (when the proper checks and balances are not place)
- unprotected oral sex.
HIV cannot be transmitted by:
- talking, shaking hands, working, or eating with someone who has HIV
- hugs or kisses
- coughs or sneezes
- swimming pools
- toilet seats or water fountains
- bed sheets or towels
- forks, spoons, cups, or food
- insects or animals
Support HIV awareness in 2015, and help bust these myths. Support getting to zero stigma, zero new infections, and zero mother to child transmissions. Join us at our gala.