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Sexual Health Week 2024

Sexual Health Week 2024

Written by: Marcus Shaw, Specialist – Advocacy and Strategic Projects

Sexual Health Week (SHW), held in February, had the theme of Absolutely Everybody. The theme of this year aimed at focusing a spotlight on ensuring sexual rights and sexuality can be explored by all people regardless of barriers we may often face. We encouraged people to reflect on their own experiences and beliefs and to explore how they can be more supportive and inclusive of all people when it comes to sexual health. WAAC offers small grants to organisations and agencies across WA to assist with delivery with programs, campaigns and activities that demonstrate Absolutely Everybody. From the many applicants, we had several successful projects that aimed to make sexual health more accessible and break down barriers and stigma surrounding the topic.

Below are brief summaries of some of the grants that were funded during SHW. Summaries were written by each agency and while they may have been edited for clarity, the meaning remains the same.


WACHS Great Southern

WACHS Great Southern Sexual Health and BBV Project Officers (SHBBVPO) partnered with Great Southern Aboriginal Health Services (GSAHS) and held a community information stall in Albany and Katanning and a Relationships and Sexuality Education workshop at Katanning SHS during SHW.

The themes Absolutely Everyone and Talk, Test, Treat and Protect were promoted through a static display of informative posters, ‘Did You Know?’ game (Sexual Jeopardy) and a display of educational brochures on a variety of sexual health topics. Take away bags packaged in discreet brown paper bags containing a variety of condoms including glow in the dark and flavoured; WAACs condoms and lube, dental dams and brochures were also made available.

Staff were able to engage a broad section of the local community and discuss a variety of topics. Most common topics were:

  • Overcoming embarrassment and how to talk to children and teenagers without appearing out of touch?
  • If you don’t have sex why should you get tested?
  • How to talk to colleagues and employees.
  • Where to get help locally.


In Albany approximately 110 people interacted with staff and 60 takeaway packs were distributed as well as additional brochures and in Katanning 20 people engaged with 10 taking takeaway packs. Twenty six year 12 Katanning SHS students participated, with 20 takeaway packs given out. It was noted that Katanning is a small community where everyone knows each other; fear and stigma associated with being seen at our stall was a potential deterrent in active engagement.

The seventy plus demographic were very cognisant of the 1980s HIV/AIDs epidemic and related individual experiences from that time. The older demographic was also surprised and showed interest in the need for testing especially for syphilis, and the changes in treatment for STIs – more tablets less injections.

The younger demographic was surprised as to the variety of condoms available and that they were more than a contraception device for unplanned pregnancy and how dental dams could be used.

Observation confirmed there is still a generalised stigma attached to discussing sexually related topics and staff found that once the subject was broached people relaxed and became more open to discussion. This appeared evident when people were reassured that there was no judgement . Comments included the appreciation of professional staff in a non-formal setting. Feedback from participants included what a fantastic initiative it was being visible within the community and out talking about sexual health.


Headspace Bunbury

Interagency collaboration between headspace, South West Aboriginal Medical Service – Sexual Health Team, WA County Health Service – Sexual Health Team and Waratah Support Centre to bring a free community event for sexual health awareness.  The event was held at Bunbury youth precinct Koolambidi Woola and include interactive activities from all agencies as well as relevant information and resources to promote sexual health education and awareness.

Key activities were:

  • Supporting young people to check eligibility and apply for their own Medicare card
  • Sexual health art contest
  • Sexual health Bingo
  • Sexual health corn hole toss game
  • Free BBQ

Service providers engaged with approximately 25-30 young people ranging from 12-25 and four external organisations including headspace attended. Key achievements included conversations with young people and families, and distribution of sexual health resources and information. Feedback gained from a father was that it was a great event and there should be more information events like this for young people.

Headspace Bunbury Sexual Health Week Picture 1 (image) Headspace Bunbury Sexual Health Week Picture 2 (image)


Nintirri Centre Inc – Tom Price

On Tuesday 13 February the staff attended Wakathuni community with other service providers,  including a Family and Domestic Violence Counsellor, headspace Youth Worker, and WACHS clinical nurse. With the support from WAAC and in-kind support of Nintirri staff, we hosted a morning tea and information session on sexual health. We handed out pamphlets and information brochures, enquired (as appropriate) about people’s sexual health, and answered questions. We played games including ‘guess how many condoms in the jar’ and encouraged participants to take part in our ‘Sexy Lucky Dip’ (consisting of lubricants, candles, mouthwash), find your right (condom) fit packs, and masks. The on-country community engagement was good at Wakathuni; despite the 40+ degree heat, community members still came to sit, chat, and enjoy morning tea whilst learning about sexual health.

On Wednesday 14 February we, in conjunction with headspace, stood outside the local shopping centre dressed as the eggplant emoji and the peach emoji handing out WAAC condoms, flyers, and morning tea slices/fruit, whilst asking trivia questions and playing games – such as sexy lucky dip, and guess how many condoms are in the jar for prizes. Engagement from the local community was incredibly high, with plenty of passers-by stopping for a chat, a laugh at the costumes, and a game whilst providing education in a fun and friendly way.

We used the morning tea offering as an ice breaker, before handing out WAAC condoms and information brochures regarding sexual health. The target population was all Tom Price residents and FIFO people, and we hit the target population with the location of our setup.

The information morning teas were both a great success to increase awareness and promotion of sexual health, create engagement between the Nintirri Centre Health and Wellbeing Team and the community and answer questions that people may not have asked in any other setting. It was light-hearted, and informative and appealing for the community.

Nintirri Sexual Health Week Photo 1 (image) Nintirri Sexual Health Week Photo 2 (image)


WACHS Pilbara, STARS Foundation, headspace Karratha

Our sexual health week adventure in Karratha started as early as 8am Monday 12 February with our local Stars Foundation girls. Further education sessions and interactive games were held with all girl groups from year 7 to year 12. Collaborating with headspace Karratha our Senior High School had a sack race dodging STI’s and then we carried on with holding education sessions to year 10, 11 and 12 health classes. Two large group audiences (a year 9 and 10 assembly) gave us an opportunity to spreadexual health awareness with the key message ‘Sexual health for everyone”. By the end of the week, we also saw outreach secondary students at Roebourne with detailed consent, contraception, STI awareness, condom application examples and engagement again by headspace. The highlight would be the competition which required a local condom wallet design to be created and chosen for printing and dispersing. Our entries were both creative and humorous ideas that the headspace Youth Advisory Group will choose a winner from in the comng weeks. Our overall target audience group was around 500 youth between 11-18 years old. They have already expressed their excitement for next year’s activities and ongoing health promotion.


Peer Based Harm Reduction WA (PBHRWA) – Bunbury

Building on an existing collaborative relationship between PBHRWA & Southwest Women’s Health and Information Centre (SWWHIC), we created an event called “All Heart at the Park” for Sexual Health Week 2024. Our event encompassed SHW, National Condom Day and Valentine’s Day and invited ‘Absolutely Everybody’ to join us, interact, comment and contribute as much as they felt was right for them.

We were grateful for the support of the Stirling Street Arts Centre who gave us the opportunity to use their beautiful multipurpose space. The PBHRWA Health Clinic Van and the SWWHIC Dragonfly Coffee Van Mobile Health Hub joined forces on the grassed area under the shade of the trees. Nurses from both teams were available to chat about all things Sexual Health and STI testing was offered in two private and confidential clinical spaces.

Free coffee, snacks, valentine’s themed chocolates, raffle tickets, showbags and various resources created an environment of enjoyment, and much gratitude was expressed for the delightful chats, goodies on offer and the presence of such an event. Indoors we had stalls set up where people could pick up the information relevant to their needs and have a chat about sexual health issues or just friendly conversation. Participants were also offered the opportunity to fill in a questionnaire about sexual health.

The aim of the questionnaire was to find out  the level of knowledge on STI’s in the community and what the community would like to learn more about. We aimed to find out as much as we could from the community about the needs around this topic and how we can address them at future events. We took to the streets and did a walk around chatting to people out and about – 30 questionnaires were filled out with $10 incentive payments and raffle tickets for a Valentine’s Day Pamper Hamper Prize given out.

Based on the feedback we received we plan to move forward by holding 2-3 similar events annually. Our aim will continue to be creating a fun and stigma free space for people to connect with sexual health professionals and screening, through open discussion, educational activities, games and a whole lot of fun.

Sexual Health Week Social Post 1 (image)


WACHS Pilbara

In Hedland, WACHS-Pilbara implemented an incentive-based project which involved the use of male and female ‘health packs’ being distributed to clients that present and receive an STI test. The health packs included valuable personal health items such as condoms, lubrication, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, deodorant, after shave, shaving gel, band aids, tissues, sanitary items, hat, tote bag, drink bottle and a creative art activity.

The project also assisted to share the ongoing message of our sexual health clinic space which operates at our Needle Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP) at Hedland Health Campus. The incentive-based project provided opportunistic discussions with clients to promote positive and respectful approaches to sexuality and sexual relationships.

All clients that attended the NSEP were informed of the STI incentivised project. This assisted to promote the service, raise awareness of the sexual health clinic, how to talk to people about getting an STI test and why it’s important to ultimately increase knowledge of getting tested and to reduce shame and stigma.

The target population for the project was all Hedland community members with a focus on engaging with our NSEP clients. With funds provided, WACHS-Pilbara had 10 male and 10 female health packs available for distribution. However, we had only distributed six health packs. The health packs were well received by the six participants. With some packs left over, WACHS will continue to distribute and promote STI testing and the sexual health clinic space within the Hedland community.


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