Enhancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people’s resilience to blood borne and sexually transmitted infections: Findings from a community-based participatory research project

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Abstract
Issue addressed: Health services are fundamental to reducing the burden of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections (BBV/STI) in Indigenous communities. However, we know very little about young Indigenous people’s use of mainstream and community-controlled health services for the prevention and treatment of these infections, or how health services can best support young people’s efforts to prevent infection. Methods: University-researchers, a site coordinator and peer researchers developed a project and conducted interviews with 45 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 17 to 26 years. Thematic analysis of interviews notes identified key themes around health service use and experiences of Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Services (ACCHS). Results: Most participants had accessed health services for the prevention or treatment of BBV/STI, with positive experiences characterised by the provision of information and feeling cared for. Participants described the comfort and understanding they experienced at ACCHS; personal relationships and having an Indigenous care provider present were important factors in the overwhelmingly positive accounts. Young people reported strategies for overcoming challenges to prevention and accessing treatment services, including being proactive by carrying condoms and , persisting with behavioural intentions despite feeling shame. . Conclusion: Our findings reinforce the important role both mainstream and community-controlled health services have in the prevention and treatment of blood borne and sexually transmitted infections in young Indigenous people. We highlight opportunities to build on young people’s strengths, such as their valuing of their health, their persistence, and their offers to support peers, to better prevent transmission of infections and enhance access to treatment. So what? Providing culturally appropriate health services to young Indigenous people is crucial to early detection and treatment of blood borne and sexually transmitted infections. Health services need to listen to young Indigenous people’s perspectives and build on their strengths to provide prevention and treatment programs that are designed and delivered with their cultural and health needs in mind.
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Author(s)
Mooney-Somers, Julie
Erick, Wani
Scott, Robert
Akee, Angie
Kaldor, John
Maher, Lisa
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Publication Year
2009
Resource Type
Journal Article
Degree Type
UNSW Faculty