Northern News Services
Monday, June 25, 2007
IQALUIT - Statistics on the rate of Hepatitis C infection in Nunavut could be misleading, said health officials and educators during the fourth national Aboriginal Hepatitis C conference.
Pitsulala Lyta addresses conference goers in Yellowknife for the fourth annual Aboriginal Hepatitis C held from Sunday June 18 until Thursday June 21. - Jessica Klinkenberg/NNSL photo
"A lot of the low stat numbers that we have, it doesn't look like we have a big picture," said Pitsulala Lyta, director of sexual health with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.
She said that the territory has to start fighting sexually transmitted diseases now.
"We have to start now while the numbers are low," she said.
According to Health Canada, Nunavut has no recorded cases of Hepatitis C.
Founder of the conference, Fox Morin, said that jobs like that of Lyta are vital.
"Education and awareness are the most important things when it comes to any infectious disease," he said.
"I'm always saying we haven't seen the worse of it, it's silent."
One of the difficulties of Hepatitis C, experts at the conference stressed, was that it can lay dormant in the human body for years and a person may never find out they're infected.
Across Canada, the aboriginal population has been hit hard by Hepatitis C.
"It's getting worse because of the drug issue, our people are devestated," Morin said.
"I hope this conference has opened some doors in the North."