HIV and AIDS: Who Is Affected

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HIV and AIDS: Who Is Affected

Topic Overview

HIV and AIDS can affect anyone. Worldwide, an estimated 33 million people are living with HIV or AIDS.1 In Canada, about 67,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV. About 2,500 new cases are reported in Canada each year.2

Since the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) became widespread in 1996, the incidence of AIDS has decreased. Factors responsible for the decline in the incidence of new AIDS cases include:3

  • Fewer people becoming infected with HIV today than in the early 1980s.
  • Improved treatments for HIV infection. HAART slows the rate at which HIV multiplies in the body. This helps keep a person's immune system healthy longer, which may slow the rate at which opportunistic diseases (such as pneumonia) develop.
  • More effective treatments available to prevent HIV-related infections.



  1. United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), World Health Organization (WHO) (2009). AIDS Epidemic Update: December 2009. Available online:
  2. Public Health Agency of Canada (2008). Selected surveillance tables to December 31, 2008. HIV in Canada. Available online:
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). HIV transmission rates in the United States—CDC Fact Sheet. Available online:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised August 23, 2010

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