Northern Territory Government– Safe Sex, No Regrets Media Campaign
Australia has been experiencing increased rates of sexually transmissible infections (STIs) over the past ten years as a direct result of unsafe sex practises (ABS- Australian Social Trends, Jun 2012). These infections are some of the most common illnesses worldwide affecting the health and wellbeing of people infected, particularily women in regards to their fertility (Gerbase, Rowley, heymann et, al 1998). Northern Territory Health (2008) along with the other Australian states have identified that the age group at being most at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections is people aged between 15 and 29. This paper will establish whether a positive change and attitude in sexual health has been achieved and if the strategies endorsed in the program were effective in achieving these goals. It will also review whether improvements could be made. It will address the relevance of targeting young adults and adolescents and whether or not the program was justified by looking at current knowledge, awareness, beliefs and attitudes towards safe sex and health benefits. The Ottawa Charter defines health promotion as ‘the process of enabling people to increase control over, and improve their health’ (Talbot & Verrinder 2010 pp.265). The Charter for has ‘five action areas’ that offer guidance when implementing and developing strategies. This paper will also investigate and discuss the level of guidance the program adopted from these guidelines in its strategies to improve sexual health. The Australian Government (2005) had identified the need for education and prevention programs as being essential intervention tools in the fight to reduce the spread of STIs amongst the 15 to 29 year old age group. The New South Wales Government lead a very successful “Safe Sex, No Regrets” campaign that was adopted by both the Western Australia and Northern Territory Governments to combat this growing health issue across the country. The strategies are focussed at educating the groups identified as being more at risk of infection rather than the entire population. Due to Australia experiencing epidemic levels of sexually transmissible infections with an estimated one in twenty people becoming infected, the Northern Territory Government attempted to adopt the very successful “safe sex, no regrets” campaign from the NSW program focusing on increased use of condoms and lube by younger, sexually active people and to encouraged them to get a sexual health check if they are sexually active and finally, keep them informed on how easy it is to get tested and be treated. It was essential that the campaign target the 15 to 29 year age group for sexual health. Due to rising rates of Chlamydia and other sexually transmittible infections (NSW Department of Health 2006) it is important for public health to prioritise prevention strategies. Prior to the campaigns, Stancombe Research & Planning (2009) discovered that the key motivator to condom use for those that used one was for pregnancy avoidance and not as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmittible infection. The key aim of the safe sex, no regrets campaign was to bring about a reduction in the prevalence of STIs by encouraging behavioural changes to reduce sexual risk. This was to be achieved through the promotion of preventative behaviours (use of condoms) information on testing and bringing STIs and the related health issues that these infections cause, to everybody’s attention. Most people with sexually transmitted infection are asymptomatic. (Chen et al 2011) argues that STIs are a major health concern and that intervention such as health education to promote safe sex by increased use and access of condoms would contribute to the elimination of STIs. He further argues that early detection and treatment are a crucial strategy in the control of STIs because of the effect it...
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