HIV in Canada: A primer for service providers

Females

Key Points

  • An estimated 23% of new HIV infections were among females in 2014.
  • HIV incidence has been stable in females since 2011.
  • Heterosexual contact and injection drug use are the main modes of transmission in females.
  • Females accounted for an estimated 22% of all Canadians living with HIV in 2014.

The HIV epidemic has changed from the early years, from one that affected mostly men who have sex with men to one that increasingly affects other groups, including heterosexuals and people who inject drugs. As a result, the burden of HIV among females is increasing.

In 2014, females accounted for an estimated 23% of new infections, or 595 new infections. HIV incidence has been stable in females since 2011, when an estimated 663 new HIV infections occurred. Injection drug use and heterosexual contact were the main modes of HIV transmission in females, with an estimated 21% of females exposed through injection drug use and 79% exposed through heterosexual contact.

By the end of 2014, an estimated 16,880 females were living with HIV in Canada; 22% of all people living with HIV were females.

Social and economic conditions (such as poverty, marginalization, gender power inequalities and violence) that fuel the HIV epidemic increase the vulnerability of females to HIV infection.

Resources

The epidemiology of HIV in females – CATIE fact sheet

Summary: Estimates of HIV Incidence, Prevalence and Proportion Undiagnosed in Canada, 2014 – Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

HIV/AIDS in Canada – CATIE infographic

People living with HIV in Canada – CATIE infographic

New HIV infections in Canada – CATIE infographic

Where is HIV hitting hardest? – CATIE infographic

HIV in Canada – PHAC infographic

Women and HIVManaging your health

Sources

  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Summary: Estimates of HIV Incidence, Prevalence and Proportion Undiagnosed in Canada, 2014. Ottawa: Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Professional Guidelines and Public Health Practice Division, Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, PHAC; 2015. Available at: http://www.catie.ca/en/resources/summary-estimates-hiv-incidence-prevalence-and-proportion-undiagnosed-canada-2014