Thunder Bay has officially declared an HIV outbreak. It is found mostly in the homeless population of the city. We are talking about the same community that had an impact on the ongoing tuberculosis outbreak.
The total number is 11
This outbreak declaration comes after some recent cases in May and June brought the total amount to 8 cases since January. There are two more cases under investigation at the moment. The transmission takes place through sexual activity and shared needles, used for drug use. There are probably even more cases that are yet to be diagnosed. The total number of the HIV diagnoses in 2018 was of 11.
Health partners did a lot of work at the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy, and the Health Unit has screened HIV and other diseases through testing and the nursing and harm reduction programming. It is essential to distribute clean needles supplies when it comes to preventing HIV.
The HIV outbreak, together with the tuberculosis outbreak, can have a significant impact on individuals and their families, even on the community. Many people are already experiencing infectious diseases, mental health, and addiction issues.
The Health Unit is currently working on an HIV and TB strategy in order to inform and guide the public health work in the area. Also, the on-going commitment of partners will make stronger the prevention, the tests, and the harm reduction. They could also improve the access to health care and many other services for people.
HIV is a virus that attacks those cells that help the body fight the infections. It can be transmitted through the direct contact with certain bodily fluids of a person that already has HIV. But the most common way is through sharing the injection drug equipment or through the unprotected sex. If you do not treat it, HIV can lead to AIDS.
Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.