The Native Youth Sexual Health Network has developed a unique peer-lead intervention called the "Sexy Health Carnival" (SHC) that takes a strengths-based approach to promoting Indigenous youth health at pow wows, Métis gatherings and Inuit festivals. Pilot tests demonstrated that it is capable of reaching youth who (based on their sexual and drug histories) may be at significant risk for HIV with an approach that they appreciate. The research aims to (1) Understand the landscape, feasibility and readiness of communities across Canada to incorporate HIV prevention content into diverse Indigenous gatherings; (2) Build the research and health promotion capacities of 9 Indigenous SHC youth leaders and 3 trainees, as well as other youth in their communities; (3) Evaluate satisfaction and comfort level with SHC among youth participants; (4) Assess the intentions of youth at different Indigenous gatherings to: (a) engage in sexual practices; (b) use drugs and alcohol and (c) adopt harm reduction strategies; (5) Qualitatively understand community perceptions (e.g., youth, elders, adults) of the SHC and doing HIV outreach at Indigenous gatherings; (6) Disseminate a digital and print "wise practice" toolkit on doing culturally-safe peer lead HIV prevention outreach with Indigenous youth at communal gatherings. The project will implement and evaluate the SHC at 9 Indigenous gatherings (3 First Nations, 3 Métis and 3 Inuit) using a variety of methods to gather data including: (A) Key Informant Interviews with local leaders; (B) iPad Surveys with youth at the gatherings and (C) Speakers Corner where all can share their thoughts. The results will be disseminated through a digital and print "wise practice" toolkit on doing culturally-safe peer HIV prevention outreach with Indigenous youth at communal gatherings. The project has the potential to reach "high risk" youth with information and resources to prevent the further spread of HIV and other STIs. Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) $446,838.
Researcher: Sarah Flicker (PI), Alexa Lesperance, Erin Konsmo, Jessica Danforth (Co-PIs, Native Youth Sexual Health Network)
Project Theme: Indigenous Justice