Enabling culturally safe sexual health services in western Sydney: a protocol to improve STI treatment outcomes for Aboriginal young people

Ashley Ubrihien, Kylie Gwynne, David A. Lewis

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Background: Aboriginal people face challenges on several fronts when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their community, compared to the rest of the Australian population. This is no different in urban areas such as Australia's largest urban Aboriginal community located in Blacktown, NSW, where sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remain an issue of concern. Across Australia, rates of infectious syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C infection have increased by 400, 260, and 15% respectively while gonorrhoea decreased 12% in the 5-year period from 2013 to 2017. This study explores how to address the barriers that prevent young Aboriginal people under 30 years of age from accessing STI treatment through Government Sexual Health Services.

METHODS: This qualitative study will use purposeful sampling to recruit 20 male and 20 female health consumers, 10 Aboriginal elders and 10 sexual health clinicians. This recruitment will be undertaken with the assistance of the local Government Health Services and local Aboriginal organisations. One-on-one semi-structured interviews will be undertaken by someone of the same gender in order to address cultural preferences. Data will be entered into NVivo and thematically analysed.

DISCUSSION: This study will seek to add to the literature that explores why young Aboriginal people do not access sexual health services. This study seeks to understand the experience of clinicians, Aboriginal elders and Aboriginal young people to provide practical policy and clinical redesign evidence that can be used to improve the experience and cultural safety of sexual health services in urban areas of Australia. The results of the qualitative research will be disseminated with the assistance of participating local Aboriginal organisations, and the findings will be published through peer-reviewed scientific journals and conference presentations.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study is approved by the Western Sydney Local Health District Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC/16/WMEAD/449) and the New South Wales Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council's Human Research Ethics Committee (1220/16).

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPilot and Feasibility Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Sexual Health
  • Aboriginal
  • Barriers
  • Equity


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