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Sexual Health

Sexual health programming has been a cornerstone of Pauktuutit’s Health Department since the late 1980s and continues to be a key area of program development. Pauktuutit’s sexual health programs have grown to become a respected and leading edge partner and works with communities to provide community mobilization workshops, conferences, skill building workshops and other events.

Pauktuutit’s work expands beyond HIV/AIDS to include other sexual health matters. As with other facets of Inuit health, sexual health must be approached holistically. Factors that can foster an HIV/AIDS epidemic can be linked to the same factors that foster high teenage pregnancy rates and high rates of STBBIs. Social determinants of health such as limited access to health services, inadequate housing, improper nutrition, limited economic opportunities, and various forms of violence and abuse are also factors that influence the sexual health of individuals and communities. With funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada Pauktuutit has most recently created two new posters to address mental health, aging and sexual health among Inuit.

Currently, Pauktuutit is undertaking the following project(s):

Tukisiviit, a sexual health project funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada that builds on and enhances existing activities and project resources. Previous project activities included community fairs to promote sexual health and awareness of sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, knowledge, attititude and behavior focus groups, and developing and adapting awareness tools for Inuit and health care providers. The final 2017-18 phase is focused on resource development for adults and care givers to talk to Inuit youth about sexual health and community-level assessment for positive behavior change among Inuit youth regarding STBBI testing across Inuit Nunangat.

The Inuit Sexual Health Network is a project funded by the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada with the goal to establish a network of leading Inuit sexual health experts. This network provides an opportunity for experts to share promising practices and develop initiatives to address the high rates of STBBIs and to prevent an epidemic of HIV and HCV from occurring within the Inuit population.

Research on Sexual Health

Pauktuutit has partnered with Dalhousie University to investigate ways to promote sexual health among Inuit. Our community-based research projects aim to improve access to education, testing (anonymous testing with pre- and post-test counselling), diagnosis, care, treatment and support. Over the past decade our partnership has received successful funding to do several research projects. Some of our previous projects included:

  • Strengthening community-based approaches to HIV/AIDS education, screening, and treatment among Canadian Inuit youth (2007-2008)
  • Creating Culturally Relevant HIV/ AIDS Education, Prevention & Treatment for Canadian Inuit (2012-2013)

We are now working on two projects funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research:

  • Adapting the Community Readiness Model (CRM) for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education and Screening with Inuit Communities Developing Strategies for HIV Prevention with Community Input & Collaboration For this project, we are looking at initiatives that focus on HIV prevention, education and screening. The CRM is a tool that can help communities determine how ready they are to deal with a specific issue. Our research project aims to adapt, pre-test and use the CRM to identify how ready three communities (Arviat, Clyde River and Kugluktuk) are to deal with HIV. We are guided by the project advisory committee (Canadian Inuit HIV/AIDS Network (CIHAN)), Community Health Representatives (CHRs) from the three communities and a research team. Together, we are working towards adapting, validating and translating the new CRM.
  • A Holistic Approach to Cervical Cancer Prevention & Treatment Among Inuit Communities: Using Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) to Guide the Development of Culturally Competent Care There is very little Inuit-specific information available to help Inuit women prevent cervical cancer. This project aims to better incorporate Inuit beliefs and values in cervical cancer prevention and treatment efforts. This project will also address unresolved physical and sexual trauma as a barrier to accessing reproductive health care for women. Together, our team of Inuit community members, organizations and researchers intend to find a way to develop more culturally competent prevention and treatment strategies using IQ.


  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
  • Dalhousie University
  • First Nation and Inuit Health Branch
  • Canadian Cancer Society
  • Jaguar Land Rover Canada
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research