About the Project
Sexual health and relationships in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: The first Australian national study assessing knowledge, risk practices and health service access in relation to sexually transmissible and blood-borne viruses among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The project has been designed to provide new evidence that will inform health policy and practice within the area of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and blood borne viral infections (BBV) that occur at elevated rates in many Aboriginal communities across Australia. The project is a combination of rigorous research and strong community engagement, it is anticipated that the results of this research this will provide findings that will raise the profile of sexual health and blood borne viruses on the health policy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community agendas, as well as strengthening clinical and public health practice.
To survey young [16‐29] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at cultural events across Australia over three years to assess knowledge, risk practice and health service access in relation to STIs and BBVs, establishing a national benchmark collection of health data for this demographic setting the foundations for a repeatable monitoring system that can be used to assess changes. The project has a strong capacity‐building component with training provided to Aboriginal communities across Australia. The Project will collect data to describe the patterns of knowledge, risk practice and access to health services related to STIs and BBVs identifying socio‐demographic correlates of knowledge, risk practices and access to STI and BBV‐related health services in this population. The evidence base will be established to support policy and program interventions, at a national and jurisdictional level, aimed at the prevention of STIs and BBVs in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Design & Method
The project will conduct five rounds of cross-sectional surveys at Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural and sporting events in each State and Territory in the period 2011-2013. Affiliate organisations take a lead role in survey event organisation and recruitment of participants. Within each jurisdiction data is collected from two events annually ensuring a mix of urban, rural and remote participants, examples of events include Australia/Survival Day events, Aboriginal State and Territory football and netball carnivals, spirit and cultural events, and National Aboriginal and Islander Week events. Handheld Personal Digital Assistants will be used to collect the surveys ensuring confidentiality, improving data quality and reducing the time taken to analyse data.
There have been 19 survey events held across eight jurisdictions with a total number of 1709 surveys collected to date. The Project is on track to collect 3000 surveys by its completion in 2013.
The key benefits are to raise the profile of sexual health and blood borne viruses on the health policy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community agendas, strengthen clinical and public health practice, and identify mechanisms for key behavioral surveillance.
There have been presentations of the project at the Sydney Sexual Health ASHM Conference, CRIAH Sydney Aboriginal Health research Conference, NRHC Perth, Canberra SHC and at various affiliate sites.
Professor and Program Head
Ph +61 (0)2 9385 0961
Mr James Ward, Central Australian Group Head, Baker Institute
Professor Anthony Smith, Principal Research Fellow, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University
Professor Marian Pitts, Director, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University
Associate Professor Heather Worth, Head: International HIV Research Group, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales
Ms Donna Ah Chee National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Dr Joanne Bryant, Research Fellow, National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales
Ms Imogen Green, Kirby Institute (UNSW)
Project Collaborators: External
Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council
Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory
Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia
Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Service Health Clinic
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council
Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (Latrobe University)
National Centre in HIV Social Research (UNSW)
Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
New South Wales Department of Health
Department of Health Victoria
Department of Health and Human Services Tasmania
Department of Health South Australia
Australian Capital Territory Health
Department of Health West Australia