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Canadian Public Health Association

Do you know and appreciate the factors that impact vulnerability to STBBIs?

  • A Core Competency in the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-Borne Infections (STBBIs)

Len is a social worker who, for several months, has been counselling an 18 year old man recently diagnosed with HIV. The young man lives at home with his parents and siblings, all of whom have strict religious beliefs. He is terrified his family will find out he is HIV positive. However, his fear and anxiety seem to be drawing him toward substance use and risky sexual encounters. Len isn't sure how to handle the situation.

Do you work in the area of sexual health or STBBI prevention or support? Do you know and appreciate the factors that impact vulnerability to infection?

Use the questions below to help you self-assess your knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices related to the factors that impact vulnerability to STBBIs. Remember that depending on your role, you may require different levels of proficiency for the various core competencies and it is possible that some of the competencies are not relevant to your work.

  1. Can you identify some generic and some population-specific factors that can impact vulnerability to infection (e.g., social and environmental factors, perceptions of risk, exposure to infection, or access to services)?
  2. Can you identify both risk and protective factors (or strengths) for STBBI transmission that could result from experiences of poverty, slavery or economic exclusion prior to immigration to Canada?
  3. In what ways could an individual's ability to prevent STBBIs be affected by being or having been in prison?
  4. What are some 'best practices' when working with vulnerable populations?

Suggested resources:

This is one of a series of cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention. View all 26 cases on the core competencies for STBBI prevention.

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