NewsDesk @bactiman63

Nova Scotia health officials report an increase in people newly diagnosed with HIV in the province.

An artist’s rendition of HIV (foreground). The knobs (purple) covering the virus are sugar-protein molecules, including gp120, that shield the rest of the virus (pink).
Image/National Cancer Institute

Normally, Public Health expects to see approximately 15-20 new cases of HIV in Nova Scotia during an entire year. This year, by the end of August, Public Health had 20-25 new cases.

“It should be noted data is subject to change due to changes in case status, delays in reporting, and/or data validation,” Nova Scotia Health cautions.

“This may also explain changes in the number of reported cases in previous months for some diseases. Please interpret the provided data with caution”

Public Health supports contact tracing for people newly diagnosed with HIV, but some contacts are anonymous. This is why it’s important to get tested and know your status if you are part of a population at increased risk of HIV acquisition.

People newly diagnosed with HIV have been primarily traced back to social circles based in Halifax Regional Municipality, although live throughout the province. As part of the case investigation, the most prominent risk factors identified are men having sex with men and people who use drugs, including people who share drug equipment.

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Public Health encourages those who are at increased risk for HIV acquisition to take these steps:

Get tested to know your HIV status. Limit your sexual partners until you know your status.
Use a latex condom every time you have sex, including oral and anal sex.
Don’t share needles and syringes used to inject drugs, steroids, vitamins, or for tattooing or body piercing. Also, don’t share equipment (“works”) used to prepare drugs to be injected.
Don’t share razors, sex toys, or toothbrushes because of the possibility of contact with blood.
If possible, keep a way to reach your sexual partners so they can be informed of potential exposure to HIV should you test positive.

People at increased risk for contracting HIV

You may be at higher risk if you meet the following criteria:

Have multiple sex partners (serial or concurrent) and/or anonymous sexual partnering.
Cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person who has sexual contact with a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person.
Have or have recently had a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or genital herpes.
Inject drugs or steroids, especially if you share needles, syringes, cookers, pipes, or other drug-consumption equipment.
Have had tattooing, piercing, or acupuncture with unsterilized equipment.
Have high-risk partner(s), especially partners who inject drugs, partners with multiple sexual partners, or male partners who have sex with men.

Testing in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotians can access HIV testing through primary care providers, including family doctors, nurse practitioners, walk in clinics and Virtual Care NS.