The paper is based on an ethnographic study conducted in a rural community in British Columbia, Canada. The study examined the impact of community culture on youth's development as sexual beings. We describe how social and geographical forces intersect to affect youth's lives and trace the ways in which deprivation of various forms of capital as well as social practices contribute to some youth being located in undesirable social positions. Our findings illustrate how the effects of stigmatisation, self-segregation, and other forms of symbolic violence can extend beyond health impacts and into the broader social realm.
The objective of this study was to assess the association of sexually transmitted disease (STD)-related stigma on sexual health care behaviors, including Papanicolaou smears and STD testing/treatment, among women from a high-risk community.
Descriptive statistics were used to assess the association of demographics, sexual and drug-related risk behaviors, and 3 measures of STD-stigma (internal, social, and tribal stigma, the latter referring to "tribes" of womanhood) with sexual health care in the past year. Pearson's chi-square test and Mann-Whitney test were used to assess significance. Multivariate logistic models were used to determine the association of STD-stigma with sexual health care after controlling for other factors.
Lower internal stigma score was marginally associated with reporting an STD test in the past year [median score (interquartile range) for those reporting and not reporting an STD test were 0.79 (0.30-1.59) and 1.35 (0.67-1.93), respectively]. In an adjusted model, internal stigma retained a negative association with reporting of STD testing in the past year (adjusted odds ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.85-0.99).
Most women had received a Papanicolaou smear in the past year, and none of the STD-stigma scales were associated with reporting this behavior. Internal stigma retained an association with not having any STD test or treatment. Although sexual stigma is a deeply rooted social construct, paying attention to how prevention messages and STD information are delivered may help remove one barrier to sexual health care.
Northeastern British Columbia, Canada, is undergoing in-migration of young people attracted by jobs in the oil/gas sectors. Chlamydia rates among youth ages 15-24 are increasing and exceed the provincial average by 22%. Testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reduces the disease burden, contributing to prevention. We conducted ethnographic fieldwork, including interviews with 25 youth and 14 service providers, to document their perceptions regarding youth's access to STI testing. Five key barriers to access were identified: limited opportunities for access, geographic inaccessibility, local social norms, limited information, and negative interactions with providers. To address youths' needs, we recommend active STI prevention and testing service delivery models that incorporate a locally tailored public awareness campaign, outreach to oil/gas workers, condom distribution, expanded clinic hours and drop-in STI testing, specialized training for health care providers, and inter-sectoral partnerships between public health, non-profit organizations, and industry.
The objective of this research was to develop a multidimensional measure of tobacco dependence, sensitive to signs of incipient dependence and relevant to adolescents. A cross-sectional survey was conducted of students attending randomly selected high schools in two regions of British Columbia, Canada. Of the 3280 adolescents who completed the survey, 17% (n=562) indicated that they had smoked at least once in the month preceding the survey and were classified as "smokers." Ninety-one percent of the smokers (n=513) completed all or most of the items and comprised the sample for the analysis. The survey included a number of items related to smoking status and nicotine dependence, including the newly developed Dimensions of Tobacco-Dependence Scale (DTDS), a 54-item multidimensional measure of tobacco dependence. Exploratory factor analyses using MINRES was used to examine the dimensions of the DTDS. The measure was found to include four dimensions: social reinforcement, emotional reinforcement, sensory reinforcement, and physical reinforcement. All subscales had adequate reliability (Cronbach's alpha coefficients >.70).
Developing indicators to measure the different facets of food security presents numerous conceptual and methodological challenges. This paper adopts an ecological framework to reflect on these issues through an examination of the Healthy Food Basket (HFB) tool. The HFB tool is used to measure food security conditions by determining the cost and availability of a group of foods in a shopping basket across a range of stores in different regions and neighbourhoods. The paper discusses the ability of the HFB tool to describe micro-, meso- and macro-level influences on food security and the use of the ecological model in developing complementary and alternative strategies for understanding and monitoring food security.
Drug dealing among drug users has been associated with elevated risk-taking and negative health outcomes. However, little is known about the cessation of drug dealing among this population.
We assessed time to cessation of drug dealing using Cox regression. We also used generalized estimating equation (GEE) analysis and chi-square analysis to examine factors associated with willingness to cease drug dealing.
In total, 868 participants reported drug dealing between November 2005 and March 2009. Among 381 participants dealing drugs at baseline, 194 (51%) ceased dealing. Incidence of dealing cessation was positively associated with spending less than $50 per day on drugs (Adjusted Hazard Ratio [AHR]=1.88, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14-3.10) and negatively associated with buying drugs from the same source (AHR=0.60, 95% CI: 0.37-0.98). In a GEE analysis, willingness to cease dealing was positively associated with older age (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=1.02, 95% CI: 1.01-1.03), crack use (AOR=2.00, 95% CI: 1.44-2.79), public injecting (AOR=1.95, 95% CI: 1.55-2.43), and reporting that police presence affects drug purchases (AOR=1.53, 95% CI: 1.22-1.91), and negatively associated with crystal methamphetamine injection (AOR=0.62, 95% CI: 0.47-0.83).
Intensity of drug use and acquisition method were predictive of dealing cessation. Willingness to cease dealing was associated with a range of risky drug-related activities. Interventions to reduce drug dealing should be conceived in tandem with addiction treatment strategies.
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Internet-based testing programs are being increasingly used to reduce testing barriers for individuals at higher risk of infection, yet the population impact and potential for exacerbation of existing health inequities of these programs are not well understood.
We used a large online sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Canada to measure acceptability of Internet-based testing and perceived advantages and disadvantages of this testing approach.
We asked participants of the 2011/2012 Sex Now Survey (a serial online survey of gay and bisexual men in Canada) whether they intended to use Internet-based testing and their perceived benefits and disadvantages of use. We examined whether intention to use was associated with explanatory variables spanning (A) sociodemographics, (B) Internet and technology usage, (C) sexually transmitted infections (STI)/ human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and risk, and (D) health care access and testing, using multivariable logistic regression (variable selection using Bayesian information criterion).
Overall, intention to use was high (5678/7938, 71.53%) among participants with little variation by participant characteristics. In our final model, we retained the variables related to (B) Internet and technology usage: use of Internet to cruise for sex partners (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.46, 95% CI 1.25-1.70), use of Internet to search for sexual health information (AOR 1.36, 95% CI 1.23-1.51), and mobile phone usage (AOR 1.19, 95% 1.13-1.24). We also retained the variables for (D) health care access and testing: not "out" to primary care provider (AOR 1.24, 95% CI 1.10-1.41), delayed/avoided testing due to privacy concerns (AOR 1.77, 95% CI 1.49-2.11), and delayed/avoided testing due to access issues (AOR 1.65, 95% CI 1.40-1.95). Finally, we retained the variable being HIV positive (AOR 0.56, 95% CI 0.46-0.68) or HIV status unknown (AOR 0.89, 95% CI 0.77-1.01), age
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The objective of this study was to describe levels of pregnancy and contraceptive usage among a cohort of street-based female sex workers (FSWs) in Vancouver.
The study sample was obtained from a community-based prospective cohort study (2006-2008) of 211 women in street-based sex work who use drugs, 176 of whom had reported at least one prior pregnancy. Descriptive statistics were used to estimate lifetime pregnancy prevalence, pregnancy outcomes (miscarriage, abortion, adoption, child apprehension, child custody), and contraceptive usage. In secondary analyses, associations between contraceptive usage, individual and interpersonal risk factors and high number of lifetime pregnancies (defined as greater than the sample mean of 4) were examined.
Among our sample, 84% reported a prior pregnancy, with a mean of 4 lifetime pregnancies (median = 3; IQR: 2-5). The median age of women reporting 5+ pregnancies was 38 years old [interquartile range (IQR): 25.0-39.0] compared to 34 years [IQR: 25.0-39.0] among women reporting 4 or fewer prior pregnancies. 45% were Caucasian and 47% were of Aboriginal ancestry. We observed high rates of previous abortion (median = 1;IQR:1-3), apprehension (median = 2; IQR:1-4) and adoption (median = 1; IQR:1-2) among FSWs who reported prior pregnancy. The use of hormonal and insertive contraceptives was limited. In bivariate analysis, tubal ligation (OR = 2.49; [95%CI = 1.14-5.45]), and permanent contraceptives (e.g., tubal ligation and hysterectomy) (OR = 2.76; [95%CI = 1.36-5.59]) were both significantly associated with having five or more pregnancies.
These findings demonstrate high levels of unwanted pregnancy in the context of low utilization of effective contraceptives and suggest a need to improve the accessibility and utilization of reproductive health services, including family planning, which are appropriately targeted and tailored for FSWs in Vancouver.
Despite advances related to the provision of emergency contraception in Canada, particularly the granting of independent prescriptive authority to pharmacists in 2000, little is known about the ways in which women perceive potential barriers to using it.
In 2004, an ethnically diverse sample of 52 women living in Greater Vancouver participated in interviews that were analyzed for an assessment of women's knowledge, attitudes and experiences related to emergency contraception, with particular attention to the ways in which ethnicity affected their stories.
Participants generally misperceived emergency contraception as an abortifacient, and often mistakenly thought that it has long-term effects on health and fertility. Knowledge gaps regarding reproductive physiology impeded clear understanding of when it is most effective. Participants also reported receiving subtle and sometimes overtly stigmatizing messages from providers when they sought emergency contraception. Asian and South Asian women were particularly concerned about negative interactions with providers; for example, they feared that female providers from their sociocultural community might recognize, chastise or gossip about them. Institutional policies (e.g., a Catholic hospital's refusal to provide the method), coupled with low awareness of pharmacists' prescriptive authority, also created barriers to use.
Women's ability to benefit from emergency contraception is hampered by lack of knowledge and conservative cultural or social mores. Serious contextual and structural shifts are required before woman-centered approaches to provision of the method become the norm.
North America's first supervised injection facility (SIF) was established in Vancouver, Canada, in 2003. Although evaluation research has documented reductions in risk behavior among SIF users, there has been limited examination of the influence of operational features on injection drug users' access to these facilities. We conducted an ethnographic study that included observational research within the SIF, 50 in-depth individual interviews with SIF users, and analysis of the regulatory frameworks governing the SIF. The government-granted exemption allowing the facility to operate legally imposes key operating regulations, as well as a cap on capacity, which results in significant wait times to enter the injecting room. Regulations that prohibit practices that are common in the local drug culture also negatively affect SIF utilization. Restructuring policies that shape the operation of the SIF could enhance access to the facility and permit SIF services to better accommodate local drug use practices.