Prevalence and Correlates of a Diagnosis of Sexually Transmitted Infection Among Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: A National Survey

James Ward, Handan Wand, Joanne Bryant, Dea Delaney-Thiele, Heather Worth, Marian Pitts, Kat Byron, Elizabeth Moore, Basil Donovan, John Kaldor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) people are recognized as a priority population for the control of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia. This article reports the prevalence of self-reported STI diagnoses and their correlates among Aboriginal people aged 16 to 29 years. Methods: Results were analyzed from a survey conducted between 2011 and 2013 at regular community events. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used to identify the correlates of a history of STI diagnosis among participants who reported being sexually active and ever having been tested for STIs. All analyses were stratified by sex. Results: Of the 2877 participants in this study, 2320, comprising 60% females, self-reported ever having had vaginal or anal sex, and a further subset of 1589 (68%) reported ever being tested for any of the following STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or trichomonas. Within this latter group, the proportion who reported that they had had a positive STI diagnosis was 25%. In multivariate analysis, women who reported sexual debut before the age of 16 years (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.16-2.81; P < 0.05), ever having had oral sex (PR, 2.66; 1.47-4.82; P < 0.001), inconsistent condom use in the past 12 months (PR, 1.71; 1.13-2.58; P < 0.012), having had sex with someone they had just met (adjusted odds ratio, 1.74; 1.21-2.50; P < 0.003), and using ecstasy (PR, 1.81; 1.16-2.81; P < 0.009) were significantly associated with a selfreported history of an STI diagnosis. For men, being older (25-29 years; PR, 2.10; 1.10-3.96; P < 0.023), being gay or bisexual (PR, 2.22; 1.16-4.27; P < 0.016), not using a condom during last sex, (PR, 1.74; 1.10-2.76; P < 0.019), past ecstasy use (PR, 1.88; 1.11-3.20; P < 0.019), and injecting drug use (PR, 2.81; 1.35-5.88); P < 0.006) were independent predictors of ever reporting being diagnosed as having an STI. Discussion: In the first community-based survey of this population, a self-reported history of ever being diagnosed as having prevalent STIs was common in sexually active young Aboriginal people who reported STI testing in the past. This population requires targeted education and health service interventions to address the high burden of STIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-184
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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