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Young Deadly and Free is a culturally responsive campaign, targeted to combat the prevalence of STIs amonst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. The campaign has been developed by the Aboriginal Health Team at the South Australian Medical Research Institute. The rationale for the campaign is based on increasing rates of STIs experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people and strategies toward providing appropriate educational tools. Recent findings from the Kirby Report released 6 November 2017, indicates a 33% increase in diagnoses of HIV amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people between 2011 and 2016. In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, young people and women feature prominently in STI infection data.
Young Deadly and Free is an attempt to enhance the knowledge, awareness and skills surrounding sexual health literacy, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged between 16 and 29, living in remote and very remote Australia. The components of the campaign include:
- Clinician resources
- Animations, infographics and fact sheets for young people
- People of influence resources
- Peer education
In terms of Clinician resources, the campaign has developed a resource audit to help clinics ascertain the things that work and find gaps in service provision. As well, new knowledge-bases have been built to help clinicians feel more confident in their approaches to testing for opportunistic infections and skills in talking to young people about blood-borne viruses. Resources for young people have been developed for visual appeal and utilise forms of communication that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander can relate to. Enlisting people of influence within communities enables strength-based ways of sharing knowledge within communities. Peer education strategies pay young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to facilitate peer education programs, with between 4 and 8 sixteen to twenty-four year olds facilitating at different sites throughout Australia.