Internal government statistics show a spike in the number of new cases of HIV in Saskatchewan in the first quarter of 2019. In response, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the government to implement a comprehensive HIV strategy – something advocates have been calling for since at least 2016.
“Fifty more people were diagnosed with HIV in Saskatchewan in the first three months of 2019 alone,” Meili said. “That high number of new cases shows that we still have a lot of work to do. We need a comprehensive strategy to address both the stigma and spread of the HIV virus and ensure that those who have it get the treatment they need.”
The Saskatchewan Health Authority recently reported an HIV and syphilis outbreak in parts of the province. Now, the Health Authority’s HIV/AIDS First Quarter Report for 2019 shows that the 50 new HIV cases in 2019 Q1 was a notable increase from the 36 new cases in 2018 Q4 and the quarterly average of 41 people in 2018. The province saw 162 cases in all of 2018.
“This government’s failure to address the HIV crisis is costing lives as well as costing the province millions of dollars,” said NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “The time to act is now – we need a comprehensive strategy to address this ongoing epidemic.”