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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Sexual health knowledge and behaviour of young Sudanese Queenslanders: a cross-sectional study

Judith Dean A B F , Marion Mitchell B C , Donald Stewart D and Joseph Debattista E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston Campus, 288 Herston Road, Herston, Qld 4006, Australia.

B School of Nursing and Midwifery, Centre for Health Practice Innovation, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan Campus, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.

C Nurse Practice Development Unit, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Ipswich Road, Woolloongabba, Qld 4102 Australia.

D School of Medicine, South Bank Campus, Griffith University, PO Box 3370, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia.

E Metro North Public Health Unit, Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Queensland Government, Bryden Street, Windsor, Qld 4030, Australia.

F Corresponding author. Email: j.dean4@uq.edu.au

Sexual Health 14(3) 254-260 https://doi.org/10.1071/SH16171
Submitted: 16 September 2016  Accepted: 18 November 2016   Published: 20 January 2017

Abstract

Background: Forced migration is associated with sexual vulnerability. However, little is known about the sexual health literacy and needs of refugee-background youth post resettlement. Methods: Conducted in partnership with the Queensland Sudanese community, this study used a cross-sectional survey to explore the sexual health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of a convenience sample of 16- to 24-year-old Sudanese-background youth in Australia (n = 229). Results: Sexually transmissible infection (STI) and HIV knowledge scores were generally low, although they were found to significantly improve the longer participants had lived in Australia (P < 0.001). Female participants reported significantly higher levels of both STI and HIV knowledge compared with the male cohort (P < 0.001). The aggregated sexual risk behaviour score suggests generally low levels of risk-taking behaviour. However, of the 140 sexually active participants, 3.1% reported a STI diagnosis, 9.0% reported sex leading to a pregnancy and 33.1% reported they had experienced unwanted sex. Participants also reported engaging in behaviours such as anal sex (33%) and sharing injecting drug equipment. Conclusions: Patterns of sexual behaviour among this predominately refugee-background group are not dissimilar to those of other young Australians. Nonetheless, the self-reported patterns of risk behaviour combined with the low and inaccurate levels of sexual health knowledge suggest this group of young people remain sexually vulnerable, particularly early within their resettlement experience. Culturally and contextually informed sexual health interventions are needed early within the resettlement experience.

Additional keywords: adolescents, Australia, refugee, sexual behaviour.


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