Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ottawa-HIV cases up sharply

Ottawa's reported cases of HIV have risen sharply in the first half of this year, according to a report from Ottawa public health.
Aug 9
The June 2011 communicable disease report, which will be presented to the Ottawa board of health Aug. 15, shows there have been 46 reported HIV infections in 2011 compared to 32 at the same time last year.

The report also shows a decade-high prevalence of HIV among men between 20-29 years old.
Higher rates are being seen in men 30-39 years old, as well, and nearly nine out of every 10 cases is a man.

The main risk factor, according to the report, is men who have sex with men.
Among other communicable diseases listed in the document, Chlamydia is the capital's most widespread with 1,189 cases. That is up from the 1,161 between January and June 2010.
Diseases like gonorrhea, hepatitis C and syphilis are less prevalent so far in 2011, according to the report.

Ottawa public health is required to provide the board with monthly reports on almost 70 diseases, which also includes influenza, E. coli, measles and tuberculosis, among others.

HIV cases up sharply: Ottawa health unit
OTTAWA — A “significantly higher” number of Ottawans contracted HIV in the first half of this year than in the same period in 2010, says a report from the city’s public-health unit.
The report, summarizing all the communicable diseases reported to the public health unit so far this year, says that 46 new HIV cases were reported between January and June 2011, compared with 32 new cases in the same period the year before.

“This one clearly crosses a threshold of statistical significance,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s chief public-health doctor. “It’s an increase of nearly 50 per cent.”

Although it doesn’t break down the demographics of the new cases in detail, the report observes that “Year-to-date rates of HIV among 20-29 year old men are the highest they have been in the last decade” and that noticeably higher rates are being seen in men between ages 30 and 39 as well. In all, nine out of 10 new cases are in men, and two-thirds are in men who have sex with men.

“Some people continue to practise what we would regard as less-safe sex,” Levy said, and ironically it hasn’t helped that science has devised ever-better treatments for HIV and AIDS. The illness can’t be cured, but drugs can keep it from destroying a person’s immune system for years — even decades, with diligent care and a little luck.
“The term that’s applied is ‘treatment optimism,’ ” Levy said. “The behaviour of some individuals has become less cautious as a result.”....Continue Reading....

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