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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Safer sex and condom use: a convenience sample of Aboriginal young people in New South Wales

Joanne Bryant A E , James Ward B , Heather Worth C , Peter Hull A , Sarina Solar D and Sandra Bailey D

A National Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

C School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

D Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, PO Box 1565, Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Email: j.bryant@unsw.edu.au

Sexual Health 8(3) 378-383 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH10138
Submitted: 29 October 2010  Accepted: 28 March 2011   Published: 17 August 2011

Abstract

Background: This paper examines condom use in a sample of Aboriginal young people in New South Wales (NSW) aged 16–30 years. Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected using hand-held computer devices from 293 Aboriginal people attending two Aboriginal events in NSW. Results: Almost two-thirds of respondents reported having had a casual sex partner in the previous 6 months. Of these, 39.2% reported always using a condom with casual partners. Having always used a condom with casual partners varied among respondents, and was more likely among younger respondents (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2–6.1) and less likely among those who used illicit drugs (AOR: 0.2, 95% CI: 0.1–0.7). Conclusions: In comparison to published studies of other Australians, casual sex appears to be more common among this sample of Aboriginal young people; however, the proportion who report having always used condoms with casual partners is very similar. This suggests that although casual sex is more common, Aboriginal young people do not engage in risky behaviour any more often than other young Australians. Further work should be conducted with those who do not always use condoms, such as those who are older and who use illicit drugs, particularly with regards to how abstinence from drug use supports protective behaviours such as condom use among this population of Aboriginal young people.

Additional keywords: Aboriginal, Australia, sexually transmissible infection.


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