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Tukisiviit – Glossary

Pauktuutit’s sexual health program began in the late 1980’s when news of the first Inuk woman diagnosed with HIV became public. Pauktuutit first passed a resolution during its 1984 Annual General Meetings (AGM) calling attention to Inuit sexual health issues and to the need for information and educational materials on sexual health that met the needs of Inuit communities. Later, in 1990, an AGM resolution called for an AIDS workshop in the North. In May 1995, Pauktuutit conducted the first National Inuit HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections Workshop, which served to raise awareness among Community Health Representatives (CHRs) about the issues and risk behaviours associated with HIV/AIDS and STIs. In 1998, with financial support from Health Canada, Pauktuutit began a pan-Arctic HIV/AIDS health prevention and promotion program that produced and distributed HIV/AIDS-related materials in English and Inuktitut. Pauktuutit remains the only national organization focusing on specific Inuit HIV/AIDS issues and initiatives, and has gained national and international recognition and acclaim for its innovative and unique work.

Pauktuutit’s sexual health program has grown to become a respected and leading edge partner and works with communities to provide community mobilization workshops, conferences, skill building workshops and other events. For example, Pauktuutit addressed the lack of information available to Inuit on HIV/AIDS by conducting the Lifesaver awareness campaign which included Inuk to Inuk knowledge transference, health fairs, a series of eight booklets on HIV, fact sheets, needs assessments of urban Inuit, symposiums, condom covers, a DVD, PSAs, puzzles, posters and various other public education tools. More recent activities have included developing fact sheets for southern medical professionals who may have Inuit patients who are HIV-positive, resource materials for urban service providers with Inuit clients, and in 2011/12 Pauktuutit conducted a workshop to develop Inuktitut terminology to help Inuit better understand their HIV health status and treatment options. This terminology is anticipated to be useful in relation to a number of medical and health issues.

Pauktuutit’s work has expanded beyond HIV/AIDS to include other sexual health matters. As with other facets of Inuit health, sexual health must be approached holistically. Factors that can foster an HIV/AIDS epidemic can be linked to the same factors that foster high teenage pregnancy rates and high rates of STIs. Social determinants of health, such as limited access to health services, inadequate housing, improper nutrition, limited economic opportunities, and various forms of violence and abuse are also factors that influence the sexual health of individuals and communities. With funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada, Pauktuutit has recently created two new posters to address mental health, aging and sexual health among Inuit.

Currently, Pauktuutit is undertaking the following project(s):

  • Tukisiviit – Sexual Health Project; funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Adapting the Community Readiness Model (CRM) for HIV/AIDS Prevention, Education and Screening with Inuit Communities Developing Strategies for HIV Prevention with Community Input & Collaboration; funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • Public Health Agency of Canada
  • Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network
  • Dalhousie University