This manual was developed by South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) as part of the Young Deadly Free project, to support clinicians in efforts to boost STI and BBV testing rates for young people living in and visiting remote communities. The manual provides tips on offering STI and BBV testing as part of routine consults with young people; collates the various STI and BBV clinical guidelines relevant to regional and remote communities; catalogues induction and training resources; and features Young Deadly Free health promotion resources for use in community education. The manual is designed as an induction and training kit, and for daily use by doctors, nurses and Aboriginal Health Workers.
- Rates of STIs, HIV and viral hepatitis (B and C) among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been grossly disproportionate to rates for Australia’s nonIndigenous population for over 20 years, particularly among young people in remote communities.
- The Young Deadly Free project aims to substantially increase STI and BBV testing and treatment rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged 16 to 29 living in remote communities across Nothern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
- A key component of the Young Deadly Free project has been the development of resources to support doctors, nurses and health workers in remote practice — particularly new recruits and locums with limited experience of working in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Unlike many other preventable health disproportionately affecting Aboriginal communities, STIs are overwhelmingly affecting otherwise healthy young people, particularly in remote communities.
- STIs among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in fact mostly diagnosed in people over the age of 16 who are legally allowed to have sex. Issues related to sexual abuse of children need to be addressed, but should not be conflated with issues affecting the spread of STIs in the community. Such conflation fuels the shame and stigma associated with open discussion of sex and sexuality, and undermines efforts to normalise sexual health checks.