HIV/AIDS remains one of the world’s most significant public health challenges.
Some quick facts from Public Health Agency of Canada:
- An estimated 39 million people worldwide are living with HIV
- Over 2.7 million people are newly infected each year, 390,000 of whom are children
- Since the pandemic began, AIDS has killed more than 25 million people
- As of 2011, approximately 71,300 people in Canada were living with HIV and 25% of whom were unaware of their infection (due to a lack of testing and/or diagnosis).
- HIV does not discriminate by gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity or income
Quick facts and statistics are important but we need more information to put them in context. This helps us answer the question of why some people are more vulnerable than others, or why is HIV so persistent when it is so preventable. Browse through our FAQs and the Understanding Risks sections for more information.
The more we know the better prepared we are to collectively address this pandemic locally and globally.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is not transmitted easily since the virus cannot survive outside the human body. The virus can only be transmitted through certain bodily fluids such as blood, breast milk and sexual fluids (including semen, pre-seminal fluid and vaginal fluid). Actions that involve these fluids are considered high risk such as unprotected sex (without a condom), blood transfusions (only in places where blood is not screened), during breastfeeding (if the mother is HIV positive) and sharing needles or syringes (since these provide access directly to the blood stream).
You cannot contract HIV through any other fluids such as saliva, sweat, tears, mucous or bodily waste.
What is AIDS?
AIDS stands for:
AIDS is an advanced stage that occurs if the HIV virus is left untreated (or if ARV medication protocol is not adhered to) causing the body’s immune system to weaken and become vulnerable to opportunistic infections.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for:
HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, particularly, white blood cells called CD4+ T cells that are responsible for fighting off infections in the body. These cells are critical to the normal function of the human immune system. As they weaken, the body is left vulnerable to opportunistic infections with can result in a chronic, progressive illness.
Where can I get condoms?
You can get free condoms and lubricant at ASAAP and many other AIDS Service Organizations and sexual health clinics, just get in touch with us. You can also buy condoms at drug stores, sex stores and online. There is no age restriction but if you’re uncomfortable going to a store, contact us to access what you need in a safe space.
Condoms come in different thickness, sizes, and styles. It’s best to try out different brands and types until you find one that fits the best.