News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 1, 2021

WORLD AIDS DAY MARKS A TIME TO HALT STIGMA, URGE TESTING AND TREATMENT



The province is encouraging Manitobans living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to stay connected to care and all Manitobans to get regular testing for HIV and talk to their health-care providers about prevention options, Health and Seniors Care Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

“It is very important for people who are at risk and who may wonder if they have HIV to reach out to protect themselves and their partners,” said Gordon. “We need to address the stigma of HIV together to support health and wellness for everyone in our province. Getting tested and finding the help that is available in our communities is vital to receiving timely treatment for HIV. Incredible clinical advances means treatments are becoming more and more effective at supporting people to live full and vibrant lives.”

Today’s announcement marked Manitoba’s observance of World AIDS Day and the release of the province’s annual report on HIV. According to the 2020 Annual Surveillance Update: HIV in Manitoba, the number of new HIV cases has declined slightly from the previous year to 117 from 119. However, approximately 10,000 fewer tests were performed in 2020 than in 2019, likely due to challenges intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current status of HIV, plans for continued surveillance for HIV and acquired immune deficiency virus (AIDS) and collaborations with stakeholders, regional health authorities, communities affected by HIV and community agencies such as the Manitoba HIV Program are also key components of the report.

The Manitoba government has taken significant action to enhance HIV prevention, early detection, high-quality care and access to HIV medications, Gordon said. Recent investments for AIDS and HIV-related issues include:

  • adding coverage for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to the provincial pharmacare formulary;
  • up to $2.3 million over three years to support the development and implementation of an Indigenous-led sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections testing and contact tracing strategy;
  • extending coverage for HIV post-exposure treatment; and
  • enhanced coverage for HIV treatment for those experiencing financial or administrative barriers.

Other highlights from the report include:

  • sharing of drug injection equipment and heterosexual sex appear to be the largest drivers of transmission;
  • 20 to 29 year-olds accounted for the highest proportion of cases among females (34.7 per cent) and 30 to 39 year-olds accounted for the highest proportion of cases among males (39.7 per cent);
  • the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority had the highest number of HIV cases (80 of 117 cases) and the second highest incidence rate (10.1 cases per 100,000 people); and
  • the Northern Regional Health Authority had the highest incidence rate with 11.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Gordon noted World AIDS Day is a time to gain understanding and to affirm solidarity in the fight against HIV and the stigma that surrounds it, and commemorate the loved ones we have lost.

The province’s 2020 report is available online at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/surveillance/hivaids/index.html.

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