November 22, 2010 by staff 

Gonorrhea, It is time to show others, do not be silly, and wrap your will. Or is a loner or cover your boner.Those is two slogans urging fun youth to use condoms to prevent infections anything but fun.

It is also part of an effort by the Department of Public Health in Nunavik to encourage safe sex among teenagers in the region and 20-somethings.

This age group has the highest rate of gonorrhea in Quebec.

The 2008 statistics show that 4.4 percent of the population of Nunavik has caught the disease at a rate that is 55 times higher than in the rest of Quebec.

Condoms, which help prevent the exchange of bodily fluids that carry infections, are available free of charge in health centers of Nunavik and local cooperative stores.

But to reach even more young people, a public health nurse in the region would also see condom machines installed in airports and other public places.

Faye Le Gresley, hired in 2005 as a nurse in the area of public health sexually transmitted infections and blood, said the initiative could help stabilize rates of gonorrhea, which began to skyrocket in 2007.

It is not known what caused the sudden increase, she said, although health officials in the home generally can spread rapidly in isolated communities.

Prior to 2005, between 10 and 40 cases of gonorrhea were reported each year.

Now, about 15 cases of gonorrhea are reported each month in Nunavik.

And over the last year of Nunavik has accumulated 176 cases of STI.

Sometimes called the clap, gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted through oral, genital oranl intercourse with an infected person.

Men and women infected may experience a burning sensation when urinating or discharge from the vgna or pns.

If untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility. In pregnant women, infection can be transmitted to the unborn child, causing blindness or blood infections.

So if you think you might have picked up this bug, go to your local health center, because early treatment and contact tracing are the most effective tools against gonorrhea and other STIs, Le Gresley said.

If you come in the local health center to be checked, you will be tested and treated immediately.

If a test is positive, you will be asked to provide names of anyone you may have had sexual intercourse during the past two months.

The nurse will then contact these people, too, and ask them to come for testing and treatment, to prevent the spread of infection.

Everything is strictly confidential.

Chlamydia, which can cause infertility and putting unborn babies at risk of premature birth, is other prominent STIs in Nunavik, but rates of chlamydia in Nunavik have been stable for many years, with 236 cases reported until now in 2010.

HIV infection is probably also around the region.

Over the past eight years, about 10 Inuit of Quebec have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus that can lead to AIDS.

But because some do not mark the bottom of Nunavik is their place of residence, it is not clear whether these tests HIV-positive came from Inuit life in Nunavik in Quebec or elsewhere.

To reduce STI rates in Nunavik, Le Gresley and its partners – which include health centers, schools, community groups and government – plan to focus their efforts on the age group 15-29 years.

“We recognize that it can not be done with brochures and posters,” she said. “The only way to prevent STIs is to use education and condoms.”

Education efforts included a visit last winter Inuk woman HIV-positive in four schools in Nunavik, where she promoted safe sex practices.

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