Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It is transmitted when infected body fluids such as blood, semen or vaginal secretions come in contact with an uninfected person's broken skin or mucous membranes. Some examples of how transmission can occur are: vaginal, anal or oral sex, sharing of drug equipment or an infected mother can pass it to her child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. There are methods of preventing HIV transmission as well as therapies to manage the infection, but there is no cure. All of the health unit’s offer confidential HIV testing and counseling. The health unit now offers a anonymous HIV testing clinic which can include point of care HIV testing.
AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. Some people with HIV will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection. AIDS is characterized by the development of certain infections and/or cancers, as well as a decrease in the number of certain cells in a person’s immune system. For more information, see the CATIE’s HIV and AIDS Fact Sheet.
By Age Group
The following graph shows the number of new HIV and AIDS cases in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2015. There have been between 3 and 23 cases of HIV and AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka every year since 2000. In 2015, 14 cases of HIV/AIDS were reported to the health unit. The most common risk factors reported among HIV/AIDS cases in Simcoe Muskoka in recent years are “sex with same sex” and “anonymous sex.” As most reported cases are male, this represents men who have casual or anonymous sex with men.
The following graph shows the incidence rate of new HIV and AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario between 2000 and 2015. The Ontario data from 2000-2004 are not available.
The incidence rate in Simcoe Muskoka is lower than the Ontario rate with 2.6 cases per 100,000 population as compared with 5.9 cases per 100,000 population in Ontario. The Ontario rate appears to be decreasing during the time period of 2005 to present.
The following graph shows the age-specific incidence rate of HIV and AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2015. The age-specific rates are variable because they are based on small numbers of cases. In the last three years, the highest incidence rate has been observed among 25-39 year olds at 6.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2015.
The following graph shows the sex-specific incidence rate of HIV and AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka between 2000 and 2015. The sex specific rates are variable because they are based on small numbers of cases. The incidence of HIV in males is higher than the incidence rate among females in most years including 2015, where the male rate was 4.4 cases per 100,000 population and the female rate was 0.7 cases per 100,000 population.
There are many factors that influence how many cases are reported to the health unit, as explained on the Infectious Diseases page.
HIV and AIDS are chronic diseases. Once someone is infected with HIV/AIDS, they have the infection and can infect other people for the rest of their lives. This means that the number of people who can spread the disease is not only the number of new cases (incidence) every year; it is also the number of existing cases (prevalence) from previous years. The provincial reportable disease database (iPHIS) counts incidence and not prevalence, so the graphs below only show the number of new cases every year and not existing cases. Therefore, the number of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Simcoe Muskoka (i.e. those who can spread the disease) is higher than the numbers shown in the graphs.
Due to the small number of cases, there is a lot of variability in the sex-specific and age-specific rates.