VANCOUVER - The HIV infection rate among gay and bisexual men in British Columbia has remained steady for the past decade, though the province has seen a dramatic decline in the overall rate of infection.
A new report from provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall says gay and bisexual men make up more than half of new infections and, as a result, now account for 45 per cent of the provincial population living with HIV.
Kendall's report says broader societal issues like marginalization of the community, stigma and racism play a role, as well as access to appropriate health care, sexual behaviour and other factors.
The report also points out that while gay and bisexual men now represent nearly half of the HIV population, less than 10 per cent of Canadian health research grants in 2011 were for prevention targeting that group.
The report written by Kendall and Dr. Mark Gilbert of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control makes 15 recommendations, including a provincewide strategy aimed at the gay and bisexual community.
Kendall says B.C. is the only province that has seen a consistent decline in new HIV infections, while most provinces are still showing slowly increasing rates.