Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: health, social support, education, sexually transmitted infection, youth, disease, sexual health

Principal Investigator: Doherty, Maryanne (2)
Licence Number: 13270
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2002 2001
Issued: Nov 27, 2001
Project Team: Helen Connop, David McKinnon, Christian Fortin and Will Boyce

Objective(s): The Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study is designed to investigate the determinants of youth sexual health, especially with regard to HIV prevention. This Canada-wide initiative is sponsored by the Council of Ministers of Education Canada, and funded by the HIV/AIDS Prevention and Community Action Program of Health Canada. A consortium of researchers from four Canadian universities have been selected to conduct this research on the sexual health of Canada's youth to inform program and policy development. The objectives for the proposed study are to: (1) Describe the relationships among determinants of health, adolescent sexuality, and the sexual health status of youth, including elements of income/social status, social support, social environment, culture, health services, health practices/coping skills, gender and sexual orientation; (2) Compare descriptive analyses of selected aspects of adolescent sexual health, especially in relation to HIV prevention, with the 1988 Canada Youth and AIDS Study; (3) Provide national and provincial/territorial data that inform policy and program development, and facilitate professional practice; and (4) Faciliate dessimination of the findings of the study.

Project Description: The research team will interview students in Grades 7, 9 and 11 (generally ages 12, 14 and 16) from across Canada to examine the changes that occur in sexual health behaviors and attitudes at critical development stages in adolescence. Nationally, data will be collected from a sample of 1150 students in each of Grades 7, 9 and 11. This method will simulate a longitudinal study of sexual health, but will be carried out in a cross-sectional way across these grades. Selection of these grade/age groupings will also facilitate comparisons with the 1987-88 Canadian Youth, Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Study's findings on key measures of HIV knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors among Canadian youth. Upon receiving the written permission of their parent or guardian, students in the NWT will be asked to fill out a questionnare identical to the one used in the rest of Canada. This questionnaire will consist of items developed to measure the study concepts that belong to the three major components of the conceptual framework (health determinants, sexuality variables, sexual health). Two age-specific versions of the questionnaire have been developed. A version for Grade 7 students will be used, and a single question will ask whether Grade 7 students have had sexual relations. Grade 9 and 11 students will be given a more complete version of the questionnaire that explores sexual behaviors more fully. It will take approximately 1 hour of class time to complete the questionnaire. All information will be kept confidential. Children will not be identifiable in any documents from the research.