A pilot behavioural and biological surveillance survey for HIV and other bloodborne infections among Aboriginal people in Regina, Saskatchewan

J Tarasuk, S Ogunnaike-Cooke, C Archibald, M Poitras, M Hennink, K Lloyd, R Faye, Z Abbas, C Bourassa, R Masching, R Bennett, R MacLean (+2 others)
2014 Canada Communicable Disease Report  
Aboriginal people in Canada are disproportionately affected by HIV and other blood-borne infections. A-Track is a national public health surveillance system designed to monitor HIV and related infections, behaviours and socio-demographic factors among Aboriginal populations in Canada. The pilot survey for the A-Track surveillance system, the first of its kind in Canada, was conducted in Regina, Saskatchewan and implemented via a community and public health partnership. Objective: To assess the
more » ... ive: To assess the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis C, syphilis and associated risk behaviours and sociodemographic factors among Aboriginal people in Regina, Saskatchewan. This focus of the pilot survey was to provide this surveillance information for public health action and to determine whether this type of public health surveillance activity could be conducted in an urban setting across Canada. Methods: Survey participants were self-identified Aboriginal people (First Nations, Inuit or Métis) or those who claimed Aboriginal ancestry and between the ages of 16 and 60 years. These individuals were also asked to provide a blood sample for HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis antibody testing. Descriptive analyses were performed with sex-based comparisons. Results: There were 1064 people who participated in the survey. Their average age was 33 years and 51% were male. The majority of participants (93%) lived in urban Regina at the time of the survey. Just over half (53.2%) of all participants had been removed from their families during childhood; 29.9% had lived in a residential or boarding school during childhood; and 57.7% had lived at some point in a correctional facility. Among the 1,045 participants who provided a blood sample of sufficient quantity for testing, 5.2% were HIV seropositive and 55.8% of these were aware of their HIV status. The lifetime exposure to hepatitis C was 41.6%, with significantly higher proportions of males than females testing positive for hepatitis C exposure. Syphilis seroprevalence was very low (<1%). Almost three-quarters (71.5%) of participants reported being tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime and among those ever tested, 67.6% had been tested during the 12 months prior to the interview.
doi:10.14745/ccdr.v40i18a04 fatcat:b6kjdplg2jcbzfwke2qvp6p4zu