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Young Australians and sexual health

Lynette McGaurr
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A number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are becoming more prevalent in Australia, and young people are among those at highest risk. Sexual health education and social marketing programs can increase knowledge of STIs, but knowledge alone does not always translate into safer sexual practice.

In a globalised world in which some STIs remain incurable and others are developing drug resistance, the sensitivity and effectiveness with which Australian parents, teachers, youth workers, governments, communities and peers help young people maintain their sexual health will have long-term individual, social and economic impacts.

This briefing offers an overview of current knowledge about rates and transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), gonorrhoea, chlamydia and human papilloma virus (HPV) among Australians aged 12 to 24 and considers the role of education and social marketing in reducing the prevalence of STIs. In so doing, it acknowledges, and is mindful of, the interrelationship between physical, mental and social wellbeing fundamental to the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health.

Young Australians and sexual health: Briefing