New program tackles sexual health issues on the Coast

A new sexual health education program funded by nib foundation is providing Sunshine Coast young people with information and access to services to help them make informed decisions to healthy and safe.

Designed to reduce the risky sexual health behaviours in local youth the program is much needed with the rate of chlamydia infection in Queensland 28% higher than the national average. What's more, two thirds of chlamydia infections reported affect young people aged 15-24.

Since its launch early this year, the Youth Partners Sexual Health & Relationships Education Project has already delivered two nationally recognised training courses to employees and volunteers from seven youth organisations and TAFE students.

With a focus on promoting good sexual health Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) has also worked with youth workers from five partner organisations on the project to design and implement sexuality and relationships education for their young clients.

FPQ’s Sunshine Coast Regional Education Coordinator, Ellie McAlister explains, “It is expected that over 100 young people will have received this education by the end of 2013 -- designed and delivered by the workers who know them best. We feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to work with so many extraordinary partner organisations across the region.”

The Youth Partners Project has been working with key workers from youth organisations, including young people aged 17-25 years, and supported them to facilitate a community based, low literacy life skills and sexual health program for youth aged 13-16 years in the Sunshine Coast/Gympie region.

The project’s success is summed up by one youth worker who said, “Thank you for providing such a great project which will involve the community and increase community awareness, education and overall wellness.”

nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch said the program takes a unique approach to addressing these health concerns among local young people which is helping to deliver results.

“We believe in funding innovative programs that meet the needs of young people in a practical and engaging way," Mr Lynch said.

“The Youth Partners Sexual Health and Relationships Education Project does exactly that by mobilising young people to support and educate their peers helping to reduce risky behaviours by local youth," he added.

FPQ is grateful to all youth partner organisations, including Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC), United Synergies, Community Solutions, Integrated Family & Youth Service (IFYS) on the Sunshine Coast and Community Action youth service in Gympie, for their commitment and participation.

The culminating meeting of all Youth Partners will take place on Thursday, 5 December at the Maroochydore office of Family Planning Queensland.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Janelle Weissman on 0423 408 830. Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) has been the leading provider of sexual and reproductive health and education services throughout Queensland for over 40 years out of 9 centres statewide. FPQ provides health care along with tools and knowledge for people to make informed decisions to stay healthy and safe.

Safe, healthy and informed.