The head of the Canadian AIDS Society fears HIV rates will continue to rise because of a shift in federal funding towards prevention instead of treatment and support.
Gary Lacasse said in a recent interview that HIV rates in Canada went up by 11 per cent in 2016 — the most recent available data. That same year, the federal government started to shift its funding focus.
"The issue is people who have HIV are the ones infecting other people who are not HIV positive," Lacasse said.
"So if you don't have care and support for people who are living with HIV who are in priority pockets, for sure they're retransmitting HIV. The science is there."
One of the 44 organizations that had its funding disappear was AIDS Saskatoon. Executive director Jason Mercredi said the organization had received around $296,000 annually which helped fund education initiatives, outreach in northern Saskatchewan and community education.
HIV rates for 2016 in Saskatchewan were more than 10 times the national average in some areas. Nearly 80 per cent of people with HIV in the province are Indigenous.