Almost half of Canadians have never been tested for HIV

The number of those who don't know their HIV status could be higher

MONTREAL, Dec. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - Despite scientific advances in the treatment of HIV/AIDS over the past 30 years questions remain about just how much Canadians know about the once deadly virus, and how this influences their behaviour. The results of a Leger Study released today to coincide with World AIDS Day provide an opportunity to think about the challenges that remain in eradicating the HIV virus, as well as to celebrate what has been accomplished in the disease's relatively young medical history.

Do Canadians worry about contracting the HIV virus? Do they see the need for being tested? Do they ask about the HIV status of their sexual partner outside of a monogamous relationship? Are there gender differences when it comes to attitudes and behaviours related to HIV/AIDS? What about discrimination towards those living with HIV?

According to the Leger study conducted among 1512 people from all across Canada between October 26 and October 29, 2015:

  • Though an overwhelming majority of Canadians surveyed say that knowing their sexual partner's HIV status is important before having unprotected sex, - 90% think It is important to know the HIV status of a sexual partner before having unprotected sex - only 55% say they have always known before engaging in sexual activity

  • Canadians don't realize that with appropriate and ongoing treatment, people living with HIV can achieve normal life expectancy: Only 54% of Canadians surveyed believe HIV to be a treatable, chronic condition. Only 28% of Canadians surveyed believe that effective treatment greatly reduces the chance to transmit the virus

  • Only 56% of Canadians surveyed would be comfortable sharing a kitchen/washroom with someone who is HIV positive, highlighting the stigma and discrimination which still exists towards people living with HIV.

  • Only 19% of Canadians surveyed realise that there are parts of Canada where the rates of HIV infection are higher than Africa

The Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR) has commented on the survey data. 

"This survey confirms the need for greater HIV awareness among Canadians, particularly focused on the importance of knowing their HIV status through regular testing." said Christopher Bunting, President and CEO of CANFAR. "Although there are more Canadians living with HIV now than ever before - thanks to advances in research and medication, we still have much work to do." Mr. Bunting continued, "There continues to be widely held beliefs that are simply false when it comes to HIV. We need to do more to address these misconceptions and combat the stigma those living with HIV face every day."

"Working closely with the HIV/AIDS community has given us a keen understanding of the issues and priorities that are desperately needed to make sure that no one with HIV/AIDS is left behind," said Sebastien LeRoux, Country Manager for ViiV Healthcare in Canada, a company specializing uniquely in HIV/AIDS. "By focussing attention on World AIDS Day in Canada, we wanted to grasp what Canadians think today about HIV/AIDS, with a view to build greater understanding for the future. We also want to send a message to all Canadians that HIV transcends gender, sexual orientation, economic status or age.

ViiV Healthcare's unique focus allows us to address the challenges of HIV, prioritize, and work to provide essential and innovative solutions in treatment and care for people living with and affected by HIV in Canada."

About World AIDS Day:

Established in 1988, World AIDS Day was created to highlight the enormity of the AIDS pandemic and call attention to a global responsibility to ensure treatment, care and support for all those living with HIV/AIDS. Today, World AIDS Day will be marked in unique and meaningful ways to commemorate those who have died of AIDS, to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, and to provide a reminder that despite the tremendous scientific advances in treatment and community support, the work needed to eradicate the HIV virus completely is far from over. 

About ViiV Healthcare Canada

ViiV Healthcare, a specialist company 100% focussed on researching advances in medicines and access to treatment and care for people living with HIV. The company's aim is to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV/AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and new HIV medicines, as well as support communities affected by HIV. For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit

SOURCE ViiV Healthcare

For further information: Media contact: Evelyn Yallen, Energi PR, 416-425-9143, ext. 15, 416-806-4136 - cell,

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