Prevelance of gonococcal/chlamydial infections in an Inuit community; identifying gender differences in social networks, risk perception and health services utilization

When Audrey Steenbeek worked as a community health nurse in Baffin Island, Nunavut, she was concerned by the high prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). That experience inspired her to pursue doctoral studies in health care and epidemiology. She is currently researching transmission patterns of chlamydia and gonorrhea among Inuit living in remote and isolated communities in Baffin Island. Audrey’s aims are to measure the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea in these communities, characterize core groups and individuals who are most vulnerable to STD infections, describe STD-related, high-risk behaviours and risk perception and, analyze the role of social networks and use of health services. These results could help decrease incidence and prevalence of STDs among remote Aboriginal populations through improved access to STD screening and treatment, improved contact tracing and partner notification procedures, and more culturally appropriate health promotion and disease prevention strategies.