Funding: CIHR Operating Grant.
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 reaches "high risk" youth with information and resources to prevent the further spread of HIV and other STIs. The community partner, NYSHN, 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.