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HIV in Ontario > Populations Most Impacted

Populations Most Impacted

In Ontario, HIV disproportionately affects certain populations. Below is some information about these populations:

African, Caribbean and Black Communities

African, Caribbean and Black people are disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS. According to the Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative’s (OHESI) 2018- 2019 data, while representing about 4% of the population of Ontario, African, Caribbean, and Black people represented approximately 27%  of new HIV diagnoses. African, Caribbean and Black women accounted for about 59% of new HIV diagnoses among all women in the province. The main mode of transmission of HIV in African, Caribbean, and Black communities is through heterosexual contact, followed by male-to-male sexual contact.

For more information, visit the African and Caribbean Council on HIV/AIDS in Ontario.

2 Spirit And Indigenous People

2 Spirit And Indigenous People are disproportionately affected by HIV. According to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2 Spirit And Indigenous People represent about 4% of the Canadian population; however, in 2019 they represented 4.9% of new HIV diagnoses. Indigenous people in Ontario are 1.7 times more likely to contract HIV than the overall population. Indigenous women are disproportionately affected by HIV, making up 40.9% of new HIV diagnoses among Ontario’s Indigenous population, compared to 10.5% of all newly diagnosed cases amongst women in Ontario. (OHESI, 2019)

Evidence also shows that 2 Spirit And Indigenous People acquire HIV at a younger age, on average, than non-indigenous people. Research shows that the primary modes of transmission among Indigenous communities include male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use.

For more information about HIV and 2 Spirit And Indigenous People in Ontario, visit the Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy


Statistics show that in 2019 there are about 14,500  women currently living with HIV in Canada. In Ontario, women accounted for about 24% of all new HIV diagnoses. Black women accounted for the largest proportion of diagnosis at around 59%, followed by white women at approximately 24% and Indigenous women at about 10% (OHESI, 2019). The majority of new HIV diagnoses reported in 2019 are among African, Caribbean and Black women, as well as white women. Primary reported exposure category was heterosexual contact with identified risk, followed by heterosexual contact with no identified risk and injection drug use.

For more information about women and HIV, please see the Women & HIV/AIDS Initiative. For more information about HIV, women and pregnancy, please visit here.

Cis And Trans Gay, Bisexual, Queer And Other Men Who Have Sex With Men

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in Ontario, gay men and other men who have sex with men have been one of the groups most impacted by HIV. Every year, over half of new infections in Ontario are among gay men. According to the Ontario HIV Epidemiology and Surveillance Initiative’s 2019 data, About 64% of all new HIV diagnoses in the province were gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. In 2019, the Toronto region had the largest proportion of diagnoses among GBMSM at a little over 66%.

To find out more about gay men and HIV, visit:

  • Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH)
    An information hub for gay and bisexual men’s sexual health.
  • The Sex You Want
    A website that explores sexual desire, pleasure, and newer information on sexual health and HIV prevention (including information on condom use, undetectable viral load, PrEP, and PEP).
  • Good Head
    This is a website for gay men that explores the link between mental health and sexual health.
  • The 519 & Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services (Access Alliance)
    Provides links, resources, services, and programs for LGBTQ2S newcomers in Canada.
  • GetPrimed.Ca
    This is a website by and for gay, bi, and queer trans men.
  • HQ provides sexual health services, HIV treatment, and mental health services free of charge to gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men, including Trans persons, in Toronto.

People who use injection drugs (PWID)

People who inject drugs are one of the populations in Ontario disproportionately affected by HIV. Of all 2019 new HIV diagnoses in Ontario, about 12% contracted HIV through injection drug use.  Within PWID, men accounted for approximately 64% of new diagnoses and women accounted for about 35 %.

If you inject drugs, you can protect yourself against contracting HIV by using new needles, not sharing drug use equipment, and using condoms during sex.

In Ontario, there are outreach programs that specifically focus on injection drug use and a range of other programs that provide services to people who use drugs. To find a harm reduction program in your region, see the Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program(OHRDP).

For more information about HIV and injection drug use in Ontario, visit the Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program or CATIE)