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Understanding ‘what’s going on with our mob’ – knowledge of STIs and BBVs as reported by young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the GOANNA survey

Understanding ‘what’s going on with our mob’ – knowledge of STIs and BBVs as reported by young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the GOANNA survey

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people are a population prioritised in all national and jurisdictional STI and BBV strategies, largely because of higher notification rates of STI and BBV reported among this population. However very little is known of levels of knowledge of this population. A national cross sectional survey asking questions of knowledge, risk behaviour and health service utilisation was administered using hand held personal digital assistants at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community events in every jurisdiction during 2011-2013. Aboriginal organisations and staff were engaged at every level of the project ensuring a self determination approach was applied to this research.

A total of 2 877 surveys were completed. 60% were female, median age of respondents was 21, 51% of surveys were collected from residents in major cities, 36% from regional centres and 9% from remote areas. 57% of respondents were single at time of survey and of those in a relationship 53% reported their partner to be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. Participant scores on each of the knowledge questions were aggregated to form a composite knowledge scale, with scale scores ranging from 0-12. A score of 12 corresponds to all questions answered correctly. Mean composite scores overall for knowledge was 9.1. Mean scores were lower in the younger age groups; 8.5 for 16-19 year olds compared with 9.9 in the oldest age group 25-29. Males overall had a lower mean score; 8.8 compared with 9.3 for females. Notable exceptions for lower levels of knowledge irrespective of gender and or remoteness were poor levels of knowledge of outcomes associated with Chlamydia infection particularly poor outcomes in pregnancy and hepatitis B transmission knowledge.
This data provides baseline knowledge information from young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Levels of knowledge were lowest for the youngest age groups among males and for more remote residents. Greater efforts are required to ensure safe sex and sexual health information is appropriate and accessible for young people, males, and translatable in communities where English is not the primary spoken language.

Speakers: Andrew Bamblett

AIDS 2014

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