Sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI)

Sexually transmitted and blood borne infections (STBBI) are infectious diseases that are transmitted from one person to another through sexual contact and/or exposure to contaminated blood, for example through the exchange of consumer materials. They used to be called STM or STI. 

People with STBBIs often have no symptoms. These people can therefore transmit one or more infections unknowingly. It is for this reason that regular testing is recommended. At the age of 14, it is possible to decide independently to get tested. STBBI screenings are quick and confidential. 

Screening allows people with STBBIs to be adequately treated, avoid complications associated with STBBIs, and prevent transmission in communities. 

Among the most common STBBIs are : 

  • Chlamydia 
    • Chlamydia is a bacterial infection and one of the most common STBBIs, especially in young people. It can affect the cervix, urethra, anus, and even the eyes. Most people will have no symptoms. It can be treated effectively with antibiotics to avoid longer-term complications. 
  • Gonorrhea
    • It is a bacterial infection that often appears in co-infection with Chlamydia. It can affect the cervix, urethra, anus, throat and even eyes. Men are more often symptomatic than women. Symptoms include abnormal discharge and pain when urinating. It can be treated with antibiotics. 
  • Syphilis 
    • Syphilis is a bacterial infection with a high prevalence in Nunavik. It can evolve in different stages all associated with different symptoms that may resemble other diseases or go unnoticed. Syphilis can be transmitted to the child during pregnancy or childbirth if left untreated and cause significant health problems. When detected, syphilis is treated well with an antibiotic injection. 
  • Herpes 
    • Herpes is a virus that causes lesions in or around the mouth and genitals. It is transmitted through kissing and sexual intercourse. The lesions are painful and can reappear during the life of a person with the disease. The symptoms of herpes can be treated with medication, even if the virus remains present for life. 
  • HPV 
    • HPV is a virus that is transmitted during sex. It is very frequently found in the general population. In some cases, it can lead to cervical cancer. It is recommended that women have preventive PAP or HPV testing regularly. Talk to a health professional. 
  • Hepatitis B 
    • Hepatitis B is a virus that is transmitted through blood, mainly through needle sharing or sexual intercourse. The virus affects the liver and can lead to health complications. Hepatitis can be prevented through vaccination. 
  • Hepatitis C 
    • Hepatitis C is a disease caused by a virus that is transmitted through the blood, mainly when sharing needles or consumption materials. It affects the liver and can lead to health complications. Hepatitis C can be treated.
  • HIV  
    • HIV is a virus that affects the immune system and is transmitted from person to person through blood (including during pregnancy and childbirth), semen, rectal fluid, vaginal secretions and human milk. It is not transmitted by shaking hands, coughing or sharing a meal. There is currently no cure for HIV, but there are treatments to control the infection and allow those infected with the virus to lead a healthy life and not transmit the virus.  
  • Learn more about safe sex practices

Pauktuutit Doodly :  


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 HIV cases remain, for now, very low. With high rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, the future rise of HIV is a source of concern.

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