Sexual Health and Education

Healthy sexuality is about communication, acceptance, respect and love.

Healthy sexuality: prevention, promotion and education, regional activities
Healthy sexual relationships and safe sexual practices
Lower risk, higher freedom
Nunavik sex-education program: Grade 7, Secondary 1 and 2 and IPL
Contraception and family planning
Sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections (STBIs)
Surveillance updates

Healthy Sexuality: Prevention, Promotion and Education, Regional Activities

  • Sexual Health is like building an igloo: every block is important
  • Healthy Relationships Week (week of February 14): A healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good emotionally, mentally, sexually and physically about yourself and your partner. 
  • World AIDS Day, December 1, is about increasing awareness, fighting prejudice, improving education and reminding people that while there is treatment there is still no cure. 
  • The International Day against Homophobia, held on May 17 every year, is an event offering an opportunity to discuss sexuality and the importance of showing respect to people of all sexual orientations.
  • Ruban en route / Ribbon on the Way – A non-profit organization whose goal is to educate young people on the prevention and demystification of HIV / AIDS, its fourth Nunavik tour (three schools each time) will be in October 2016, in Inukjuak, Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq. Ribbon on the Way offers interactive activities and the testimony of a person living with AIDS.
  • National Aboriginal Hepatitis C Awareness Month & World Hepatitis Day

Healthy sexual relationships and safe sexual practices 

Note that most information in this section is from the Nunavut sexual-health program

Lower risk, higher freedom

Safer sex starts with making good decisions, choosing to be STI-free, pregnant or not,and being emotionally involved with your sexual partners. To some safer sex can mean abstinence or having sex alone, which remains the best way to completely protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Others choose to be faithful to one partner or to use condoms. Choosing safer sex shows respect for yourself and your body, as well as your partner and his or her body.

What is a healthy relationship?

  • In the simplest terms, a healthy relationship is one that makes you feel good emotionally, mentally, sexually and physically about yourself and your partner. Not only do you enjoy being together, but you can express your true self and allow your partner to do the same. All relationships are different, of course, but healthy ones have at least five important qualities in common. The acronym S.H.A.R.E. can help you remember these qualities.
    • Safety: In a healthy relationship you feel safe. You don't worry that your partner will harm you physically or emotionally, and you don't feel inclined to use physical or emotional violence against your partner. You can try new things (such as taking a night class) or change your mind about something (such as engaging in a sexual activity that makes you feel uncomfortable) without fearing your partner's reaction.
    • HonestyYou don't hide anything important from your partner and can express yourthoughts without fear of censure or ridicule. You can admit to being wrong. You resolve disagreements by talking honestly.
    • Acceptance: You and your partner accept each other as you are. You appreciate your partner's unique qualities (such as shyness or emotionality). You don't try to "fix" them—if you don't like your partner's qualities, you may want to examine your motivations for being with them.
    • Respect: You think highly of each other. You do not feel superior or inferior to your partner in important ways. You respect each other's right to have separate opinions and ideas. This doesn't mean you have to tolerate everything your partner does or does not do (such as refusing to get help for a drinking problem). Setting limits is a sign of self-respect.
    • Enjoyment: A healthy relationship isn't just about how two people treat each other—it also has to be enjoyable. In a healthy relationship, you feel energized and alive in your partner's presence. You can play and laugh together. You have fun.

This information comes from Please visit this web site for more information.

  • Condoms
    When having sex (oral, vaginal or anal), condoms are a great way to prevent STIs. In Nunavik condoms are available at all CLSCs, most stores and some schools and airports.
  • Intravenous drug use and access to sterile injection material
    Injection drug users (IDUs) can transmit the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) viruses by sharing needles and syringes as well as through unprotected sex. Making sterile injection material available to injection drug users is one of the ways to reduce the risks. The regional public-health departments have been mandated by the STBI-prevention department (SLITSS) of the MSSS to implement such a program in their regions. We expect that the Nunavik program will be implemented in early 2016.
  • Tattoos and piercings
    Did you know that any instrument or object (needle, metal point, tube, ink) can be a source of infection, hepatitis B and C, and HIV for you and the artist? You AND your tattoo or piercing artist can reduce the risks.

Nunavik Sex-Education Program – Grade 7, Secondary 1 and 2 and IPL 

The Nunavik Sex-Education Program, available in three languages, was developed in Nunavik, with input from youth, parents and teachers and in consideration of Inuit values. Topics include self-esteem, healthy relationships, the body and its functions, behaviours with and without risk, sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections, condom use and contraception.

While the Kativik School Board encourages its use in the schools, the decision to use it is left to the individual school principals and their staff. Nurses are encouraged to collaborate with the school in delivering the program. Tool kits are available in each secondary school and CLSC.

For additional information contact the nurse in the Sexual-Health Program at 819 964-2222, ext. 269.


Contraception and family planning

  • Sexually active couples and women can decide when to welcome children into their family using birth control. There are several birth-control options available and condoms are one of them. Note that birth-control medication does not protect you from STIs! You should still use a condom if you don’t know your partner’s sexual history, have more than one partner or don’t know if you might have an STI. Make an appointment with the nurse or midwife at the CLSC to discuss which birth-control method is best for you.
    • Compare birth-control methods
    • The Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP)
      The Emergency Contraceptive Pill, also known as the ‘Morning After’ pill or ‘Plan B,’ can be used within three days of unprotected sex (the earlier it is taken the more effective it will be). It works by stopping the fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus. It does not work if you are already pregnant.

Sexually Transmitted & Bloodborne Infections (STBIs)

Infections can be transmitted through sexual activity or sharing objects, such as needles, which break the skin. These infections are called sexually transmitted and bloodborne infections or STBIs. STBIs include chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis. Preventing those infections, as well as screening and treating infected Nunavimmiut, are central to the well-being of our communities.

Surveillance updates

Declaration rates for gonorrhea and chlamydia infections in Nunavik are higher than those reported for the province of Quebec, a shortcoming observed for more than 20 years.

However, unlike other Inuit / First Nations communities across Canada, Nunavik’s syphilis and HIV cases remain, for now, very low. With extremely high rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia, the future rise of syphilis and HIV is a source of constant concern.

To monitor in the future: graphs and statistics for the population (reporting annually, starting in 2016).