Young people and sexual health: Working across cultures

sarah jessica

“She had it coming”: How alcohol and drugs are fuelling HIV risk and stigma among young people in Uganda and South Africa

Dr Sarah Bernays

Drawing on case studies from two large longitudinal qualitative studies in Uganda and South Africa, Sarah will reflect on assumptions made about both the ubiquity of and entanglement between substance use and HIV risk among young people living in poverty. A young person known to be HIV positive, for example, is often presumed to have engaged in substance use behaviour, which places undue emphasis on volition and responsibility over structural vulnerabilities, and also overlooks the role of sexual violence and coercion in some contexts. The presentation will conclude by reflecting on what this means for the design of tailored harm reduction interventions which are focused on the interaction between substance use and HIV risk amongst youth and the implications that this intersection has for further fuelling HIV stigma.

Dr Sarah Bernays has recently joined the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, having been at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine since 2006. Her current research focuses on adolescent global health and implementation social science. She runs a qualitative longitudinal research programme exploring the experiences of young people growing with HIV and/or exposed to high HIV risk. The programme includes a number of qualitative studies being run in Uganda, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Talking to migrant and refugee young people about sexual health promotion and care

Jessica Botfield

Young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds are often viewed as sitting at the margins of sexual and reproductive health promotion and care, and underutilising related health services. In this presentation, Jessica will discuss her doctoral research in Western Sydney which has been exploring these issues through interviews with stakeholders and young people from diverse cultural backgrounds. A sub-set of young people also took part in a ‘walking interview’, in which they narrated their views of particular health services as they walked through them with the researcher. Key findings from these different sets of data will be discussed, with the aim of creating a more informed approach to engaging young people from diverse backgrounds with sexual and reproductive health services.

Jessica Botfield is a doctoral candidate at UNSW Sydney, and a Senior Research Officer at Family Planning NSW, focusing on qualitative research and evaluation in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region. Prior to this she worked as a Research Associate with the Health, Rights and Development team at the School of Social Sciences, UNSW, with a focus on global health and development research. She has a background in sexual health nursing and public health.

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