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Chlamydia, gonorrhea rates soar in Nunavut

04/25/2012 10:16 EDT | Updated 06/25/2012 05:12 EDT

Rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea in Nunavut continue to be the highest in Canada.

The Department of Health is creating a sexual health plan that will include sexually transmitted infections in the hopes of seeing a bigger and better impact.

Nunavut's Department of Health says rates of Chlamydia in the territory are around fifteen times higher than the national average and gonorrhea rates are even higher.

"Since about 2008 we've seen a huge spike in rates of gonorrhea. They're still rising and that's a major concern, of course,” said Dr. Geraldine Osborne, the territory’s chief medical officer of health.

Sheutiapik, the President of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, said one of the contributing factors could be people are not open to talking about sexual health.

“Even today when I talk about it in Inuktitut, everyone - kind of like they're 15 again… sex is not something you talk about openly,” said Sheutiapik.

Nunavut’s health department is close to completing a new framework for sexual health which includes a social marketing campaign.

“Improving sexual health is linked to improving overall health of a person. We have to have a comprehensive approach. We also have to develop a lot of partnerships,” said Osborne.

A website, www.irespectmyself.ca, is already in place. The site has information for youth on STIs and sexual health.

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