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Date posted: 12 May 2014
Young Aboriginal people in Western Australia (WA) are the target of a new WA Health sexual health campaign.
The campaign features popular Aboriginal comedian Mary G, and will run on radio stations across Western Australia as well as targeted Facebook advertising.
Rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly chlamydia and gonorrhoea, remain high among young Aboriginal people, especially in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields area – where notifications of chlamydia and gonorrhoea are higher than anywhere else in WA.
Sexual health and blood-borne virus program director, Lisa Bastian, said 11,804 Western Australians tested positive for chlamydia last year with nearly 14% of those being Aboriginal and in the 16-24 year old age group.
'As well as chlamydia, gonorrhoea remains a significant issue for young Aboriginal people,' Ms Bastian said.
From June 2012 to June 2013, 54% of gonorrhoea infections were in the 15-24 year old age group and 54% of the infections reported were in Aboriginal people.
'It’s important we continue to develop innovative ways to reach young Aboriginal people to educate them about the importance of safe sex. Mary G was an established Aboriginal comedian, whose messages have a proven record of reaching all levels of the Aboriginal community.' said Ms Bastian.
'Sexual health can be tricky to talk about and research shows that humour is a great way to cut through the embarrassment and shame that people can feel when talking about these sensitive topics,' she said. 'The Mary G campaign messages to young people are simple – use a condom when you’re having sex and if you’ve had unprotected sex, get tested.'
In conjunction with the campaign condoms will be distributed through a selection of health centres, and young people are encouraged to visit the Could I Have It website for a free online chlamydia test.
Source: Department of Health WA