I certainly don’t want to trivialize the suffering of anybody who’s been affected by HIV and AIDS, but sometimes I get frustrated by the scope of the media coverage that this disease receives. It is, of course, absolutely ravaging Africa, but I think its impact in Canada gets overblown.
To confirm my suspiscions, I did some research. In Canada, there are 50,000 HIV-positive people (85% of whom are men), and about 18,000 of them have AIDS (92% of whom are men). In the entire epidemic, since 1979, slightly more than 19,000 people have died. In truth, some other deaths (particularly those early on) were probably misdiagnosed, but we could safely say less than 30,000 people have died from AIDS.
I was also pleased to learn that the rate of AIDS-related mortality death (due, presumably, to research and education) has dropped dramatically every year since 1996. In 1995, there were 1481 deaths. There were 61 recorded deaths from AIDS last year. That’s great news. The rate of new cases has decreased significantly as well.
I know we recently had World AIDS Day, but I think this disease gets more Canadian press than, numbers wise, it deserves. For example, cancer will kill about 67,400 people in this year alone. Heart disease will take about 80,000. Yet, AIDS and HIV still get plenty of play in the media. More importantly, do you ever hear those declining HIV/AIDS numbers–the good news–in the media? No, because that’s not a compelling enough story.
I got all of these stats from a very thorough report from the Canadian government: HIV and AIDS in Canada.