Aboriginal HIV and AIDS Statistics

HOW DOES HIV and AIDS AFFECT ABORIGINAL PEOPLE ACROSS CANADA?There are disproportionate rates of HIV and AIDS among Aboriginal people.

  •  Aboriginal people experienced HIV at rates about 3.6 times higher than other Canadians in 2008.
  • Even though the Aboriginal population only represented 3.8% of the general Canadian population, Aboriginal people represented about 8% of all people living with HIV and AIDS, and about 12.5% of new HIV and AIDS cases diagnosed in Canada in 2008. (Public Health Agency of Canada – Population-Specific HIV/AIDS Status Report, 2012 [PHAC])

Injection drug use is the main category of HIV exposure for Aboriginal people.

  • In 2005, 53% of HIV cases among Aboriginal people were caused by injection drug use; 33% by heterosexual sex; 10% by men who have sex with men; and 3% by men who have sex with men/injection drug use. (PHAC)

Aboriginal people are diagnosed at a younger age than other Canadians.

  • Between 1979 and 2008, 19.3% or reported AIDS cases among Aboriginal people were between 15 and 29 years old, compared with 14.8% of reported AIDS cases among non-Aboriginal people in the same group. (PHAC, HIV/AIDS Epi Update, July 2010).
  • HIV affects Aboriginal women at higher rates than non-Aboriginal women.
  • Between 1998 and 2008 Aboriginal women represented 48.8% of all the HIV test reports within the Aboriginal HIV and AIDS statistics as compared with 20.6% of reports among those of other ethnicities. (Public Health Agency of Canada’s HIV/AIDS Epidemiological Surveillance Report – July 2012)

Aboriginal people are significantly overrepresented in the Canadian prison system where there is a higher risk of contracting HIV

  • In 2006, 1.64% of people in federal prisons were reported to be HIV positive.
  • Aboriginal people make up 20% of the federal prison population.
  • Of Canadian female prisoners, Aboriginal women make up 32% of female prisoners.
  • Aboriginal men make up 20% of Canadian male prisoners. (PHAC)

The Aboriginal population is more vulnerable to contracting HIV and AIDS because of a variety of factors and social determinants of health

  • Poverty, housing and homelessness, early childhood development, physical environments, access to health services, support networks and social environments, gender, violence, and for this population in particular, racism and the multigenerational effects of colonialism and the residential school system. (PHAC)

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