The Positive Side

Spring/Summer 2010  

HIV by the Numbers

Short or long grain, rice can make HIV statistics easier to swallow.

     65,000: People living with HIV1

IN THE HIV WORLD, we are often surrounded by statistics, and they can be so difficult to comprehend. To bring sense to these numbers, Dr. Basmati, the alter-ego of CATIE’s bilingual educator Melissa Egan, led the creation of the exhibit The Power of One: Visualizing HIV Epidemiology.

In the exhibit, HIV statistics are presented as piles of rice, with each grain representing one person. The exhibit’s power is in its visual punch — try to imagine the size of a real pile of 65,000 grains of rice. (We’ve used measuring cups here to give you a sense.)

The Power of One recently completed a cross-country tour. If you missed it, you can ask your local AIDS agency to request that CATIE bring it to your town.

The exhibit is based on ideas used by UK theatre company Stan’s Café and is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

     16,900: Undiagnosed1


     19,960: Heterosexual sex1,2


     33,360: Sex between men1,2


     6,100: Aboriginal peoples1,3


     13,210: Injection drug use1,2


     3,706: Tested positive at immigration screening4


4: Babies born with HIV5

  1. Estimated number of cases in Canada at the end of 2008
  2. Probable route of infection
  3. Highest estimate
  4. Number of cases in Canada from 2002 to 2008
  5. Number of cases in Canada in 2008