• Open Access

Knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to safe sex, sexually transmitted infections (STI) and HIV/AIDS among remote living north Queensland youth


Correspondence to:
Dr Patricia Fagan, Tropical Population Health Service, Cairns, Queensland 4870. Fax: (07) 4051 4322; e-mail Patricia_Fagan@health.qld.gov.au


Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth living in far north Queensland in relation to sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS and safe sex.

Methods: Community consultation followed by local recruitment of a sample of young people who, in a facilitated same gender focus group setting, completed a questionnaire followed by open discussion of the issues in a range of remote locations during 2007.

Results: The remote living Indigenous youth demonstrated lower levels of knowledge in relation to STI and HIV and higher levels of partner change than was demonstrated in the 2002 national secondary school survey. Despite the high rates of bacterial STI in the region, there was an extremely low level of awareness of personal risk in relation to STI and HIV.

Conclusion: There is an urgent need to strengthen school-based sex education and to develop innovative approaches to sexual health promotion in addition to improving clinical sexual health service provision.