Publications & Reports

Sexual-risk behaviour, self-perceived risk and knowledge of sexually transmissible infections among young Australians attending a music festival.

Lim MS, Hellard ME, Aitken CK, Hocking JS
Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health Research, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria 3004, Australia. [email protected]


BACKGROUND: Prevalences of sexually transmissible infections (STI), unsafe sex and abortions are increasing in Australia and people aged 16 to 29 are particularly at risk. We conducted a survey of behaviour, knowledge and perceptions of STI risk among young people attending a longstanding annual music festival called the Big Day Out. METHODS: A structured questionnaire was administered to a cross-sectional sample of people aged 16 to 29 years attending a music festival (Big Day Out). RESULTS: Completed questionnaires were collected from 939 participants (507 females, 432 males) whose median age was 20 years. Of the participants, 751 (80%) had ever had vaginal or anal sex. In the previous year, 48% had multiple partners and in the past 3 months 66% had a new partner. Of these, 224 (39%; 30% of those who had ever had sex) did not use condoms all or most of the time and were classified as being at risk of STI; however, only 24% of those so classified perceived that they were at risk of an STI. In total, 43% of all sexually experienced participants had not used a condom because they reported being drunk or high at the time. STI knowledge was poor overall and male participants, those living in non-metropolitan regions, those under the age of 20 and those with less schooling scored relatively poorly. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that young men and women who attend the Big Day Out are sexually active young adults with limited knowledge of STI and blood-borne viruses who regularly engage in behaviours that put them at risk of infection.


  • Journal: Sexual Health
  • Published: 01/03/2007
  • Volume: 4
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 51-56