Education programs for Indigenous Australians about sexually transmitted infections and bloodborne viruses

Public health Education School curriculum Schools First Peoples health Diseases Australia

As a group, Indigenous Australians experience poorer health outcomes than other Australians, including in the area of sexual health.

Indigenous Australians have substantially higher rates of STIs, BBVs and teen pregnancy than non-Indigenous Australians, particularly for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, infectious syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Efforts to reduce these high rates are compounded by the historical and social context of Indigenous Australians. Although many Australians may experience elements of shame and embarrassment when they access health services for STIs and BBVs, for many Indigenous Australians there also exists a mistrust of ‘mainstream’ (non-Indigenous specific) health services as a result of past injustices and racially differentiated treatment (Arabena 2006). Historically, Indigenous Australians diagnosed with an STI were segregated and placed into privately run hospitals (‘lock hospitals’) that were in poor condition.

Sexual health education programs are one way of promoting sexual health for Indigenous Australians.

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