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'96 Canadian AIDS Sats

Brown, S. (1996). AIDS Statistics in Canada. S. Hamilton, MA: Center for Youth Studies.




(Download '96 AIDS Overview as a PDF)


Since the first case of AIDS in Canada was diagnosed in 1979, according to the 1994 Annual Report of AIDS in Canada, there have been approximately 16,000 reported cases of AIDS in Canada.

Please note that these figures do not include HIV statistics, however an AIDS case diagnosed today reflects HIV transmission which occurred between 2 and 10 or more years ago. Many of the figures have been adjusted for reporting delay and under-reporting.



These figures are adjusted for underreporting and delays:

1979—1          1985—746          1991—1,837

1980—6          1986—1,130       1992—2,133

1981—6          1987—1,369       1993—2,277

1982—26        1988—1,638       1994—2,329

1983—70        1989—1,718       1984—185

1990—1,718               Total—15,893


                Cases*               % of Total               Reported Deaths
Adult Males

                13,098                    93.4                               7717
Adult Females
                  632                        5.6                                 412
Pediatric Males
                   74                          .5                                   39
Pediatric Females
                  63                           .5                                   36
                       *Adjusted for underreporting and delays*


The following statistics indicate the method of transmission of Canadian AIDS cases to date:

76.5%  Male homosexual sex          3.1%  Injection drug use
1.8%    Clotting factor recipient       1.8%  Blood transfusion recipient
8.7%    Heterosexual sex                    2%  Occupational exposure

Although men having sex with men continues to be the largest category of exposure, this category has been decreasing as a percentage of the total since 1987 (81.6%). With the exception of a small decrease in cases and percentage in 1994 (11.0%), exposure involving heterosexuals has been increasing as a percentage of the total since 1987 (6.3%). In pediatric cases (less than 15 years old), 75.7% were exposed perinatal.


One might expect, Canada’s largest provinces have the largest number of AIDS cases and incidence rates—Ontario 42%, Quebec 29%, and British Columbia 18%. In terms of incidence per 100,000—British Columbia ranks highest with 75, followed by Ontario with 73 and Quebec with 69. All provinces and territories have reported AIDS cases.

Quebec has a higher concentration of pediatric (50%) and female cases (49%) than any other province (Ontario 29% pediatric and 30% of female cases). However, Ontario has reported 42% of male cases with Quebec reporting 28%.

The primary ages for AIDS (both male and female) is 30-39 (44%) with 40-49 and 20-29 following. However, the HIV infection median ages continue to decrease. Before 1982, the median age was 32 years. From 1985 to 1990, the median age of infection has dropped to 23 years of age.


"As part of its ongoing surveillance, statistical and epidemiological research activities, the Bureau of HIV/AIDS and STD has estimated that the total number of persons infected to the end of 1994 could be between 42,500 and 45,000." This translates in the "...last 5 years to between 2,500 and 3,000 new HIV infections per year (or 50-60 infections per week)" (p. 27, 1994 Annual Report of AIDS in Canada).


The United States has the largest number of reported AIDS cases in the world. However, much smaller countries, including many African countries, have rates per million that more than double the level in the USA (1542). For example, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have rates near or above 3000/1000000. It is also important to note that reporting procedures in the USA are much more refined than in many parts of the world. This means that the numbers for these African countries are very likely lower than reality.


AIDS is increasing worldwide and in Canada. Younger people are becoming the primary infected age group. The statistics show that AIDS impacts every province in Canada as well as men, women, children, homosexuals, heterosexuals, and injection drug users.

Although statistics are valuable, they do not tell the full story. The statistics do not relate the feelings each of those people had when they found out they had AIDS. The statistics, except for the numbers of those who have died, do not illustrate the impact AIDS has had on dreams for the future, jobs, or families. The financial, medical, and social costs are also not listed; they are impossible to tabulate.

Reference: Division of HIV Epidemiology Research, Bureau of HIV/AIDS and STD, Laboratory Centre for Disease Control, Health Canada. (1995, December). 1994 Annual Report of AIDS in Canada.


  1. Do you think that many infected people have a church home or a group that supports them materially, emotionally, or spiritually? Do you know many people at church who have AIDS or are HIV-positive?
  2. Do you know of any churches that have a support group for those infected with AIDS or their families?
  3. Do you know anyone with AIDS? How should you respond to him/her?
  4. Does your youth group communicate with young people and their parents about sexuality?
  5. Invite a HIV/AIDS infected person to speak to your school or youth group to hear a real story from someone who knows the costs.

Steve Brown cCYS