Ottawa

Ottawa HIV cases jump: report

Ottawa's reported cases of HIV have risen sharply in the first half of this year, according to a report from Ottawa public health.
Ottawa public health sees sharp rise in reported cases of HIV 2:01

Ottawa's reported cases of HIV have risen sharply in the first half of this year, according to a report from Ottawa public health.

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.

"That's a lot of people with a serious disease. It's certainly a significant increase and it's of some concern to us," said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa's chief medical officer. 

But Levy admitted he is not surprised to see roughly a 50-per-cent increase this year over last.

"We have seen sexually transmitted illnesses of all sorts rise pretty steadily over the last 10 years," he said, adding there have been fluctuations for diseases such as HIV over the past few years.

The report also shows a decade-high prevalence of HIV among men between 20-29 years old and higher rates in men 30-39 years old. 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.