Title: Sexual health and sexually transmitted infections in northern frontier populations - Progress update (pdf)
Summary of Activity
The objective of this proposal is to build the capacity to examine the individual, social and environmental factors that influence perceptions of sexual health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in northern frontier populations. We propose to take a modified community-based participatory research approach to investigate sexual health, focusing on Montana, Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland. Our aims are: Aim 1: Describe the basic epidemiology of STIs, pregnancy, and pregnancy outcomes in northern frontier populations We will describe and compare the burden of reported STIs in Montana, Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland by basic demographic characteristics including age, gender and race/ethnicity. When possible, we will model the spatial and spatiotemporal distribution of chlamydial infection to evaluate the concept of core groups and areas of infection. We will incorporate community level factors to look for ecologic level associations with sexual health (STIs and pregnancy). Maps of pregnancies, births, neonatal deaths, and STIs will help us identify communities to approach for targeted capacity building. Aim 2: Build capacity for investigating sexual health issues Geographic areas identified in aim 1 as having high concentrations of STIs, high birth rates, or poor pregnancy outcomes will be considered priority areas for further investigation. Key informants will be identified within these priority areas as well as other communities and interviewed using semi-structured interviewing techniques. The goal of key informant interviews will be to gain basic insights into sexual health and STIs in the respective communities and learn ways of talking about sexual health and STIs that will be culturally sensitive and respectful. Knowledge gained from aim 1 and conversations with key informants will be used to develop a series of talks that will be presented to the different communities, after which the communities will be invited to help develop and participate in the research project. Aim 3: Investigate sexual behaviors and STI transmission dynamics Community informants and qualitative data collected in aim 2 will help us develop appropriate focus group discussion questions, and help make decisions about focus group discussions such as who should facilitate focus groups, where and when. We will conduct focus group discussions with semi-structured questions to gain insights into perceptions on sexual health, behaviors, and STI transmission dynamics. The role of environment, travel, migration, bridge contacts and nomadic lifestyle will also be explored.
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology Dionne Gesink Law
Montana State University
Department of Microbiology
PO Box 173520, 109 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT
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