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Where do we go? Health service utilisation of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: findings of the GOANNA survey

Where do we go? Health service utilisation of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: findings of the GOANNA survey

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 16-29 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 health service utilisation of this population.

A national cross sectional survey 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 2877 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. Overall 41% of respondents reported that they had been tested for STIs in the last year (males39%, females 44%). People aged 16-19 reported lower STI testing rates in the last year than for people aged 20-24 and 25-29. Of those that had been tested, Aboriginal medical services were the most common place where STI testing occurred 55% then followed by private general practice 34%. Overall 30% of respondents reported they had been tested for HIV. Overall 55% of respondents reported having an adult health check in the last year. Aboriginal Medical services were reported as the best way to seek help for STI and BBV advice as well as for alcohol and other drug issues.
Health service access for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people appears reasonable. Lowest levels of testing for both STIs and HIV occurs in the age group 16-29 years. Males attend less frequently and reported lower testing rates compared to females. Strategies to address male health are required as are strategies to ensure testing occurs more frequently when people aged 16-29 attend health services.

Speakers: Sarah Betts

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