Government of Canada invests more than $32M in research into sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections

News release

July 18, 2019 – Vancouver, BC – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Over the past decades, research has played an important role in the prevention, care and treatment of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBI). Despite advances, an increasing number of people are living with, at risk of, or affected by STBBI in Canada.

Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced an investment of more than $32 million in STBBI research from the Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This investment supports six teams in the area of biomedical and clinical HIV/AIDS research and three centres focused on HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and other STBBI population health and health services research.

CIHR is providing $19.9 million over five years to biomedical and clinical HIV/AIDS researchers across the country to develop effective prevention strategies, treatment and care to improve the health of Canadians affected by STBBI. Studies will vary from identifying gaps in testing to finding new approaches to eliminate persistent HIV infection.

CIHR is also investing $12.5 million over five years to support Centres for HIV/AIDS Population Health and Health Services Research, which aim to improve health and access to effective programs and services for people living with and at risk of STBBI, particularly for populations most affected such as Indigenous Peoples. For example, two centres are grounded in Indigenous philosophies and methodologies to address increasing STBBI problems in Indigenous communities.

The recipients’ work will contribute to the global efforts to eradicate STBBI and ensure better health outcomes and services.

This announcement was made during the launch of the Government of Canada’s STTBI Action Plan at the STI & HIV 2019 World Congress in Vancouver, which took place July 14-17.


“We believe that investing in research is one of the best ways to build a healthier population and reduce stigma, which is a persistent health barrier and concern for people living with STBBI. Thank you to today’s grant recipients for their important work aimed at providing quality and effective STBBI prevention approaches, care, services and treatment. All Canadians should be grateful for the scientific knowledge and methods you are creating and the lives you are saving.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Congratulations to the successful teams who are contributing to advancing STBBI research and improving the health of Canadians. Scientific research has offered us a better understanding of disease transmission and risk factors and as a result, we are better equipped to manage STBBI.  However, much more needs to be done to meet the national goal of reducing health impacts of STBBI in Canada by 2030. CIHR is pleased to support collaborative efforts and Indigenous knowledge to reverse the trend in STBBI rates increase in the country.”
Dr. Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Infection and Immunity

“We are so grateful for this funding from CIHR. It provides the infrastructure to our REACH Centre 3.0 to support our collaborative and interdisciplinary network across the country of people with lived experience, researchers, community workers, front-line health care providers and public health practitioners, and government decision-makers. Together, they will provide national leadership, pragmatic expertise and local context to implement and scale-up critically needed HIV and other STBBI testing options and linkage to care and treatment for people who are at-risk, and for those who are undiagnosed or not connected and receiving regular care, to optimize their health and wellbeing.”
Dr. Sean B. Rourke, St. Michael’s Hospital, Principal Investigator of two projects receiving funding from CIHR

Quick facts

  • The projects announced today are funded by the CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Initiative, which is the research arm of the Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada. It invests $21 million each year to support research, capacity building and knowledge translation activities in four key areas: biomedical and clinical research; health services and population health research; community-based research; and the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network.

  • The Government of Canada launched its Five-Year Action Plan on Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections to accelerate efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat STBBI, and address barriers to care, in Canada. This follows the 2018 release of the Pan-Canadian Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections Framework for Action that provides a roadmap for collaborative and complementary actions to reduce the impact of STBBI in Canada and to contribute to the global efforts to end AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections as major health concerns.

  • Canada has endorsed the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization's (WHO) global health sector strategies to address HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections (STI) which call on countries to work towards the elimination of STBBI as a health concern by 2030.

  • Rates of sexually transmitted infections in Canada have increased over the last decade—chlamydia increased by 49%, gonorrhea by 81%, and syphilis by an alarming 178%.

  • The information about the biomedical and clinical HIV/AIDS research and Centres for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other STBBIs research can be found in the 2019 Funding Decisions Notifications – June & March.

Associated links


Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Thierry Bélair
Office of Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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