More Sask. teenagers testing positive for HIV
Overall, the number of people testing positive for HIV in Saskatchewan is stabilizing, but health officials are noticing a disturbing increase in the number of teenagers who are contracting the disease.
What's more, the teens are not developing HIV from the more common source — intravenous drug use. Instead, they are contracting it from unprotected sex.
"These individuals that we're talking about are 14-, 15-, 16-year-olds," said Nicole White, executive director of AIDS Saskatoon. "It's something we're incredibily concerned about here."
White said the number of young people with the disease shows the prevention message is not reaching them.
The government is hoping to change that with a new campaign on YouTube, Facebook and the radio, encouraging people who are at risk to get tested.
Testing is a critical part of the province's strategy, said Johnmark Opondo, director of the province's AIDS strategy. However, he warned that more testing will lead to more positive diagnoses in a province where the rate of new infections is double that of the rest of Canada.
"The more we'll look, the more cases we'll find," Opondo said. "But if we're going to control HIV in Saskatchewan we need to leave no stone unturned."