Young Deadly Free eNewsletter June 2020

What’s new

We wish farewell to Amanda Sibosado.

Amanda has been part of the YDF team since 2017, coordinating resource development. Amanda has an absolute commitment to the sexual health of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and her skills, creativity, and humour shine through in our YDF videos and posters. We’ll all miss her heaps and wish her all the best for the future.



What’s news

Young Deadly Free findings from evaluation

The Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Applied Research and Evaluation Network (SiREN), in collaboration with SAHMRI, produced two posters summarising selected Young Deadly Free evaluation findings for the youth peer education program and the uptake of the project’s health promotion resources.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the communities for supporting the Young Deadly Free project. The project is making an important contribution to improving the sexual health of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities – something that would not have been possible without the whole hearted support of organisations and people in the community.


The following results are for the period 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2019 and are limited to resource access via social media and the Young Deadly Free website only.
Followers engaged with published posts on the Facebook page a total of 53,160 times (the total number of times posts were shared, reacted to, commented on, or clicked on).

  • 723 posts were published on the Facebook page (mainly consisted of images, videos, or links to relevant websites) and reached 363,742 feeds.
  • Young Deadly Free Facebook had 1,016 followers.
  • The Young Deadly Free Facebook page was liked by 945 people.
  • Half of the Facebook likes (49%) were by young people aged under 34 years.
  • Followers were predominantly females (72%) aged between 25-34 years (34%) and 35-44 years (24%).


The Young Deadly Free project produced a comprehensive library of resources, targeting different populations in remote communities: young people; people of influence (e.g., Elders), and remote practice clinicians.

  • The dedicated Young Deadly Free website and Facebook page were the most effective platforms for engagement with the resources.
  • Factsheets, posters, and infographics were the most frequently downloaded website resources while videos received the greatest reach, likes, and shares on Facebook.
  • With the Facebook followers typically female, aged 25-44 years, there is much value in exploring how to better engage males and a younger demographic with sexual health content.
  • Nonetheless, the findings highlight the efficacy of using a dedicated website and social media – especially Facebook – in health promotion targeting remote communities, particularly in instances when the content is associated with cultural sensitivities and the population group is geographically dispersed and varied.
  • The acceptability of the Young Deadly Free resources is attributed to the active engagement of the target groups in the resource development process, which ensured the relevance of the resources to the diverse population.

Read the full evaluation: Reach and uptake of health promotion resources via website and social media


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people report considerably higher notification rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs) when compared with the non-Indigenous population (1). Young people aged 15-29 years and those residing in remote and very remote areas account for a large proportion of all STI and BBV notifications in this population. Peer education has been shown to be beneficial for youth sexual health promotion, however its efficacy for young people living in remote and very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is unknown.

The program aimed to increase awareness of STIs and BBVs, promote prevention of STIs and BBVs, increase the uptake of STI and BBV testing, and help foster healthy relationships among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged between 16-29 years.

The peer education program forms part of the larger Young Deadly Free project, which was developed by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in partnership with Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS), Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA), Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia (AHCSA), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT), and Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC).

The Young Deadly Free youth peer education program was piloted in 15 remote and very remote communities across four jurisdictions in Australia during 2017-2019

Young people showed knowledge gains from pre to post survey, with increases in the proportion of correct responses reported across each of the 13 questions.

There were marginal differences between males and females in the proportion of correct responses to each knowledge question in the pre and post surveys.

Differences were evident among the age groups, with those aged 23 years and older having the highest proportion of correct responses in the pre and post surveys.

The Young Deadly Free peer education program has made a promising impact on raising sexual health awareness among young people in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with knowledge gains evident from pre to post survey, as well as in increases in behavioural intentions and agreement levels from pre to post survey.

The survey findings also highlight where to focus health promotion efforts, namely: encouraging testing among 16-18 year olds; enhancing knowledge about BBVs; and the need to normalise STI and BBV testing in the community to reduce concerns about shame and privacy.

The program has the potential to have an enduring impact on participating communities and contribute to a positive shift in the sexual health narrative in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Read the full evaluation: Peer Education Program Findings

Project queries, Professor James Ward:
Evaluation queries, Dr Roanna Lobo:

The Young Deadly Free project and evaluation was funded by the Commonwealth Government Department of Health. Sincere thanks to the project coordinator (A. Sibosado) and to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations, and people who were involved in the development of the health promotion resources.



Increases in infectious syphilis notifications are attributed to an on-going outbreak occurring in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people residing in northern and central Australia, continued increases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in urban areas of Victoria (Vic) and New South Wales (NSW), and increases in non-Indigenous women residing in urban areas of Vic, NSW, Queensland (Qld) and Western Australia (WA).

Read the full report: June 2020

This surveillance report has been authorised by Health Departments in outbreak affected jurisdictions and the Office of Health Protection.

Social media

Social media is integral to the campaign, with social media platforms used as information hubs for young people to learn about and discuss STIs and testing. Utilising Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Divas Chat, regular posts include news of the campaign and its progress at local levels, using the most popular social media in each zone.


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