Hep C and HIV 101

Hepatitis C
What is Hepatitis C?
  • A chronic liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).
  • An infectious virus that is carried in the blood and affects the liver.
  • An infection increasing rapidly in Canada and around the world.
  • Often no symptoms in either acute or chronic phase.
  • Approximately 75-85% of people who become infected with Hepatitis C progress to the chronic (carrier) state.
Factors that put you at risk to Hepatitis C:
  • Hepatitis C is spread through contact with infected blood.
  • Injecting, snorting, or inhaling drugs. The risk increases with sharing needles, straws, pipes, spoons, cookers and other drug equipment which could be contaminated with blood.
  • Exposure to contaminated blood or blood products or had an organ transplant before 1992.
  • Tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture using unsterilized equipment or techniques.
  • Pricked by a needle or sharp equipment that has infected blood on it, in a workplace situation such as a health care facility.
  • Exposure, either in Canada or abroad, to medical or dental practices where infection control precautions are not taken or contaminated equipment is used.
  • Sharing personal care articles such as razors, scissors, nail clippers or a toothbrush with an infected person.
  • A pregnant person with Hepatitis C can also pass on the infection to their infant at birth.
Status of Hepatitis C in Yukon and Canada
  • An estimated 250,000 people in Canada are infected with Hep C virus.
  • Between 3,200-5,000 people in Canada are newly infected each year.
  • Incidence among Indigenous people may be 8.4 times greater.
  • In Yukon, 912 people have been diagnosed with Hep C as of 2011.
  • Yukon has the highest Hep C rates in Canada (more than twice the national average) with 28 new cases reported in 2011 and 28 reported in 2010.
  • Today, between 70-80% of HCV transmission in Canada is due to injection drug use.

Did you know – Hepatitis C treatment has changed!? 
Much easier to tolerate and effective drugs are now on the market. If you’re living with Hepatitis C, now is the time to start a conversation about treatment with your health care provider. Download our Hep C Cure Pamphlet – 2016 and find out more.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
What is HIV?
  • A virus that attacks your immune system.
  • You may not feel or look sick for years, but you can still infect others.
  • Over time, your immune system may grow weak and you can become sick with different illnesses.
  • If left untreated, your immune system will not be able to defend your body from infections, diseases or cancers which can kill you. This condition is called AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
Factors that put you at risk to HIV/AIDS:
  • Having unprotected sex with someone with HIV.
  • Sharing needles infected with HIV for injection drug use, tattoos, piercings.
  • Any other blood-to-blood contact, such as through fighting or sharing razors.
Status of HIV/AIDS in Canada
  • Since HIV reporting began in Canada in 1985, a cumulative total of 78,511 positive HIV test reports have been reported to PHAC (2013).
  • There were 2,090 new HIV infections in Canada in 2013; (a decrease from 2012 = 2,099 and 2011 = 2,307).
  • Almost 6 people a day in Canada are infected with HIV/AIDS
  • An estimated 25% of people with HIV don’t know they are infected; referred to as the “hidden epidemic.”
Status of HIV/AIDS in Yukon
  • A total of 57 HIV positive tests were reported by Yukon Communicable Disease Control between 1985 and December 2013. (Risk exposure category for Yukon for new case(s) was not identified.)
  • HIV rate in Yukon was 2.7 in 2013 (below the national rate of 5.9).
  • Obtaining an accurate portrayal of HIV/AIDS prevalence in Yukon is compounded by a number of factors: transient nature of some portions of the Yukon population, a reluctance to get tested, getting tested outside of the territory, and access and privacy concerns by those living in rural communities.
Vulnerable Populations:
  • In 2013, 49.3% of all adult (≥15 years) positive HIV test reports with known exposure category were attributed to men who have sex with men.
  • The third most frequently reported exposure category among adults in 2013 was injection drug use (IDU), accounting for 12.8% of HIV reports. (A decrease from 2012 = 13.4%, 2011 = 17.6% and 2010 =17.4%.)
  • Almost 21% of new adult diagnoses are women.
  • 7% of women infected with HIV in 2013 were infected through IDU (compared to 10.6% in men).
  • Aboriginal people accounted for 16% of new HIV infections in 2013 (a decrease from 2012, 2011, and 2010) even though Aboriginal people make up only 3.8% of the general Canadian population.