HIV in Canada: A primer for service providers


Older Canadians

Key Points

  • 23% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2018 were in Canadians aged 50 years or older.
  • Sexual contact was the main mode of transmission.

In 2018, 576 new HIV diagnoses were reported in Canadians aged 50 years and over (23% of all new diagnosed HIV infections in Canada). It is difficult to know how many older Canadians are living with HIV today. We know that up to the end of 2018, 10,481 Canadians over the age of 50 had ever been diagnosed with HIV. However, this does not account for those who have died or those who became HIV positive at a younger age and have lived to older age.

In 2018, among older Canadians with a reported/identified risk factor, 33% of new HIV infections were attributed to gbMSM, 4% to gbMSM who also inject drugs, 10% to people who inject drugs and 46% to heterosexuals.

More and more HIV-positive individuals are living longer due to medical advances, such as effective HIV treatment, and this will lead to the continual growth in the number of older Canadians living with HIV.


HIV/AIDS in Canada – CATIE infographic

New HIV infections in Canada – CATIE infographic

People living with HIV in Canada – CATIE infographic

Where is HIV hitting hardest? – CATIE infographic

HIV in Canada – PHAC infographic


Haddad N, Robert A, Weeks A, Popovic N, Siu W, Archibald C. HIV in Canada-Surveillance Report, 2018. Canada Communicable Disease Report. 2019;45(12):304–312. Available from: