Surveillance of STI risk behaviour among young people attending a music festival in Australia, 2005–08

Authors

  • Megan S.C. Lim,

    1. Centre for Population Health, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health and Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria
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  • Margaret E. Hellard,

    1. Centre for Population Health, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health and Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria
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  • Campbell K. Aitken,

    1. Centre for Population Health, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, Victoria
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  • Jane S. Hocking

    1. Centre for Population Health, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health and Key Centre for Women's Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria
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Correspondence to:
Campbell Aitken, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3004. Fax: (03) 9282 2138; e-mail: aitken@burnet.edu.au

Abstract

Objective: To explain rising rates of sexually transmitted infections it is necessary to monitor trends among high risk groups, such as youth. Surveillance of risk behaviours and testing among a variety of populations in different settings is required. We monitored self-reported sexual behaviour among music festival attendees.

Methods: Cross-sectional studies of young people's behaviour were conducted annually at a music festival between 2005 and 2008 using self-administered questionnaires. Logistic regression, adjusted for age and gender, determined trends in risk behaviours.

Results: More than 5,000 questionnaires were completed. The proportion reporting multiple sexual partners in the past year remained stable from 2005 to 2008 and condom use with these partners increased. Reporting a new sexual partner in the past three months decreased, while condom use with new partners increased. Reporting a casual sexual partner increased and condom use with casual partners remained stable. Reporting a recent STI test increased from 23% in 2006 to 32% in 2008.

Conclusions and Implications: Despite increases in STI notifications, most risk behaviours are decreasing in this group, possibly as a function of increased STI testing. Music festivals are a useful setting for monitoring behaviour trends within a sub-population of young people at relatively high risk of STIs.

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