‘Jumping around’: exploring young women's behaviour and knowledge in relation to sexual health in a remote Aboriginal Australian community

Sarah Ireland, Concepta Wulili Narjic, Suzanne Belton, Sherry Saggers, Ann McGrath

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Abstract

Sexual health indicators for young remote-living Aboriginal women are the worst of all of Australian women. This study aimed to describe and explore young women's behaviour and knowledge in relation to sexual health, as well as to provide health professionals with cross-cultural insights to assist with health practice. A descriptive ethnographic study was conducted, which included: extended ethnographic field work in one remote community over a six-year period; community observation and participation; field notes; semi-structured interviews; group reproductive ethno-physiology drawing and language sessions; focus-group sessions; training and employment of Aboriginal research assistants; and consultation and advice from a local reference group and a Cultural Mentor. Findings reveal that young women in this remote community have a very poor biomedical understanding of sexually transmitted infections and contraception. This is further compounded by not speaking English as a first language, low literacy levels and different beliefs in relation to body functions. In their sexual relationships, young women often report experiences involving multiple casual partners, marijuana use and violence. Together, the findings contribute to a better understanding of the factors underlying sexual health inequity among young Aboriginal women in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2015

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