Speaker: Dr. Carmen Logie (Lupina Senior Academic Fellow; Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto)
Discussant: Dr. Dionne Gesink (Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health)
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There are stark sexual health disparities in Canada’s North compared with the rest of Canada. In the Northwest Territories (NWT) rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) are disproportionately high among young people, with reported STI rates ten times the national average. Geographic isolation, stigma and limited health care services reduce access to HIV and STI prevention, testing and care. These factors may be exacerbated for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) youth who face inequities that contribute to health disparities, including higher HIV/STI infection rates. No information exists on HIV/STI among LGBTQ+ youth in NWT. This study is guided by an intersectional analysis that moves beyond a single-axis framework of discrimination to look at multiple categories of difference (e.g. age, gender, ethnicity, location) and the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth at the intersections of these differences in NWT. There are diverse ethnicities in NWT: 50% are Aboriginal peoples, including Dene, Inuit, and Métis; 44% of persons are white; and 5.5% visible minorities. There are significant health disparities in the NWT: 63% of non-Aboriginal peoples rated their physical health very good/excellent whereas only 41% of Aboriginal peoples did. Aboriginal peoples in Canada remain an overrepresented population affected by HIV, with estimated new infection rates 3.6 times higher than among non-Aboriginal persons. In NWT, it is particularly important to explore experiences of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal LGBTQ+ youth in light of the sexual health disparities among Aboriginal persons, as well as to understand culturally grounded understandings of sexuality. There is a paucity of research assessing drivers of HIV/STI among LGBTQ+ youth in NWT. In this project we establish an interdisciplinary team of LGBTQ+ Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth, adult and allied researchers to generate knowledge on social contexts of HIV and STI vulnerability among LGBTQ+ youth in NWT. We aim to: 1) Explore the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ youth in NWT, with particular attention to social and structural contexts of sexual health and HIV/STI vulnerabilities; 2) Implement body-mapping techniques as a tool of collaborative knowledge generation to understand social contexts, identities and factors influencing sexual health among LGBTQ+ youth in NWT; 3) Conduct knowledge translation and exchange, including a youth forum, report launch and art exhibit.
Dr. Logie is an Assistant Professor at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto and an Adjunct Scientist at Women’s College Research Institute, Women’s College Hospital. She is a former SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, CIHR Post-doctoral Fellow, and Grand Challenges Canada Rising Star in Global Health. Her program of research, which is funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), addresses health and human rights with a particular focus on social and structural drivers of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI). Her research enhances understanding of HIV/STI vulnerability among diverse marginalized populations, and informs the development, implementation and evaluation of multi-level HIV and STI prevention interventions. She has active programs of research in Jamaica, Southern Africa (Swaziland, Lesotho), and Canada (Ontario, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut) with LGBTQ communities, African and Caribbean people, Indigenous people, and persons at the intersections of these identities. Her publications span social work, public health, global health and human rights, and health services research. She teaches in the Diversity and Social Justice Specialization.
Dionne Gesink is an Associate Professor and Social Epidemiologist with the University of Toronto, Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the patterns, connections and relationships between behavioural, social, cultural, environmental and spatial factors, and sexual health. Dionne’s research approach is grounded in relational and community based participatory research principles.