Deadly Health

A new local event promoting Aboriginal sexual health

Deadly Health is a new annual sexual health and relationships event for Aboriginal young people and their communities in Wyndham and Melton. This program is highly responsive to the needs of ATSI young people, featuring focus groups facilitated by Koori Engagement Support Officers. Deadly Health is one of the initiatives to result from Action for Equity: A Sexual and Reproductive Health Plan for Melbourne’s West 2013-2017.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience high rates of chlamydia and hepatitis C, as well as an increased risk of low birth weight, pre-term births and perinatal mortality. Effective prevention efforts are limited by a lack of access to culturally appropriate services and health promotion programs that take into account the social and cultural context of Indigenous sexual health.

Deadly Health may appear to be an oxymoron as a title for a health event. Language is an important factor in delivering culturally appropriate messages in a sensitive area like sexual health, and in this case, ‘deadly’ in the Koori community is commonly used to mean ‘cool’.

Best practice health promotion programs incorporate cultural norms while working in partnership with local communities to ensure that programs are community-owned and led, and build on the strengths, knowledge and capacities of Indigenous people.

WHW joins key community partners including the Gathering Place, Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, the Secondary School Nursing program and the Koori engagement support officers collaborate to make Deadly Health highly relevant to the needs of ATSI young people. By working together, we are strengthening our integrated response to serving the ATSI young people in our region.

For more information contact our Health Promotion team on info@whwest.org.au