Sexual risk and health care seeking behaviour in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in north Queensland

The Indigenous Resiliency Project was part of the International Collaborative Indigenous Health Research Partnership (ID: 361621), a trilateral partnership between the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Health Research Council of New Zealand. There were parallel projects in Canada and New Zealand; together we aimed to examine the role of resilience in protecting Indigenous populations against sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.

In the qualitative arm we conducted community-based participatory projects with two communities. Check out the findings below:

In 2010 we used the qualitative work as the basis for community surveys. Again, researchers worked closely with community, in this case the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service. The cross-sectional survey covered location of usual residence, recent and past sexual activity, alcohol and other drug use, history of selected health outcomes and health service utilisation. We trained five young local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in research ethics and survey methodology. These peer researchers collected surveys from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 24 years at the Townsville Show, sporting events, shopping centres, a health service open day and a NAIDOC parade and community event.

Check out what we found: Scott, R, Foster, R, Oliver, L, Olsen, A, Mooney-Somers, J, Mathers, B, Micallef, J, Kaldor, J and Maher, L (accepted 22/10/2014). Sexual risk and health care seeking behaviour in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in north Queensland. Sexual Health

Note: this is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of the accepted article; I’ll post the link to the definitive publisher-authenticated version as soon as it is released.

Indigenous Resilience article

Our paper on understanding Indigenous young people’s past experiences of sexually transmitted diseases as resilience narratives has just been published by Culture, Health and Sexuality. Here’s the abstract:

“The Indigenous Resilience Project is an Australian community-based participatory research project using qualitative methods to explore young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s views of blood-borne viral and sexually transmitted infections (BBV/STI) affecting their communities. In this paper we present an analysis of narratives from young people who had a previous BBV/STI diagnosis to explore how they actively negotiate the experience of BBV/STI infection to construct a classic resilience narrative. We examine two overarching themes: first, the context of infection and diagnosis, including ignorance of STI/BBV prior to infection/diagnosis and, second, turning points and transformations in the form of insights, behaviours, roles and agency. Responding to critical writing on resilience theory, we argue that providing situated accounts of adversity from the perspectives of young Indigenous people prioritises their subjective understandings and challenges normative definitions of resilience.”

Mooney-Somers, J., Olsen, A., Erick, W., Scott, R., Akee, A., Kaldor, J., & Maher, L. (on behalf of the Indigenous Resiliency Project). (2010) Learning from the past: Indigenous young people’s accounts of BBV/STI infection as resilience narratives. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 13(2): 173-186.

Our conference presentation at Making Sense of: Health, Illness & Disease, based on the article, will appear in the conference eBook shortly.