HIV/Hep C in the Thunder Bay District

HIV and Hepatitis C rates in the Thunder Bay District are higher than the provincial average.

The local epidemiology is different than the provincial epidemiology. Most new infections in the Thunder Bay District are linked to risk factors of injection drug use and heterosexual sex. More women than men are diagnosed with HIV in Thunder Bay. This calls for a unique local response.

In June 2019, Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU) declared an HIV outbreak in response to increasing rates of HIV infection in the Thunder Bay District.

“The HIV outbreak, especially with the concurrent tuberculosis outbreak, is a crisis situation impacting individuals, families and communities already experiencing significant burden associated with infectious disease, mental health, and addiction issues as well as broader social, historical and systemic issues.”

– Dr. Janet DeMille, Medical Officer of Health for TBDHU.

About HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by being in contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly through sharing injection drug equipment or unprotected sex. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.

About Hep C

Hepatitis C (Hep C) is a viral infection that is caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection spreads through contaminated blood and causes liver inflammation, sometimes leading to serious liver damage. Chronic hepatitis C can be a “silent” infection for many years, until the virus damages the liver enough to cause the signs and symptoms of liver disease.

Who We Serve

BETR provides client and clinical support to people living in Thunder Bay & District including First Nation Communities, and rural communities.

Coming Soon

Central intake/referral

Thunder Bay HIV Treatment Collaborative: The Thunder Bay HIV Collaborative is a collaborative and coordinated response to the needs of people living with HIV in Thunder Bay. Member organizations work together to meet people where they are at and ensure no person falls between the cracks in the health care system. We take a no wrong door approach to providing HIV treatment and wrap around support in Thunder Bay.