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Young People's Health Group

Head: Associate Professor Megan Lim

Examines the epidemiology and consequences of risk behaviours among young people. Young people (aged 10-29 years) are a key population for several of our target health conditions and behaviours.

Young people in Australia and internationally are the group with the highest incidence of HIV and other STIs and experience high rates of alcohol and other drug use. In addition, adolescence and young adulthood is a period of great physical, physiological, psychological, behavioural and social change. We have a particular focus and expertise in health promotion research, particularly investigating the use of new social media and mobile technologies as health promotion tools.

  • To conduct quality research to provide data on the epidemiology and consequences of risk behaviours among young people.
  • To develop and evaluate novel methods of health promotion particularly utilising new media such as mobile phones and social networking sites.

Our working group conducts epidemiological research, health promotion, outreach and education with young people. Our work aims to create a strong evidence base for tackling STIs in Australia, and the Asia and Pacific regions.

Sex Drugs and Rock’n’Roll:

Since 2005 we have conducted a series of surveys at the Big Day Out music festival, including over 15,000 young people. These have investigated sexual risk behaviours, how these have changed over time, and their relationship with other risk factors including alcohol and other drug use, mental health, and use of new media.

Investigating alcohol and social media:

A series of projects funded by the Australian Department of Health and Ageing will look into how mobile phones and social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be used to reduce the harmful impact of alcohol consumption among young people.


The Australian Collaboration for Chlamydia Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance collects data on young people testing for chlamydia from laboratories, general practice clinics and sexual health centres.


young people have participated in our surveys at the Big Day Out music festival since 2005.

Megan Lim 2

Associate Professor Megan SC Lim

Megan is Deputy Program Director (Behaviours and Health Risks) at Burnet Institute and leads the Young People’s Health research group. Her primary area of interest is understanding how digital media impact on public health. She has led trials using these technologies (e.g. mobile phones, smartphone apps, and social media) for health promotion and behaviour change.



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Co-Designing Digital Technologies to Reduce Young People’s Exposure to Online Pornography
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Exploring alcohol and other drug use among migrant communities in Victoria
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The Gist: A pornography education program to improve sexual health and wellbeing in marginalised young people
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Young Adults and Alcohol Study
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