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Evaluation of the Young Deadly Free Project


2016 - 2019




Promoting STI/BBV testing in remote Aboriginal communities: Young Deadly Free resources for clinicians.











Young Deadly Free: Reach and uptake of health promotion resources via website and social media.











The impact of the Young Deadly Free peer education program on the sexual health awareness of young people living in remote and very remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.












The multijurisdictional scope of this project necessitated ethics approval from several Aboriginal ethics committees from South Australia (Aboriginal Health Research and Ethics Committee: 0417722), Western Australia (Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee: 789), and the Northern Territory (Menzies School of Health Research Aboriginal Ethics Sub Committee: HREC-2017-2818, and Central Australian HREC: CA-17-2823). Curtin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee granted reciprocal ethics approval (HRE-2017-0605).


Dr Roanna Lobo (Curtin University), Dr Belinda D’Costa (Curtin University).


Coordinated by the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) in partnership with peak bodies and local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, the Young Deadly Free project (formerly known as the Remote STI and BBV Project) seeks to increase the uptake of testing and treatment for STIs and BBVs among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, aged 16 – 29 years, living in remote and very remote areas of Australia. The intention is to implement Young Deadly Free across 25 communities in South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Queensland.

The core components of the project include:

  • Developing and implementing health promotion resources about STIs and BBVs for young people, people of influence in the communities, and clinicians (accessible via the Young, Deadly, Free website).
  • Developing and implementing a peer education model for young people.
  • Establishing STI monitoring systems for STI and BBV testing.

The following evaluation objectives will be assessed:

  • Reach, uptake, and impact of STI/BBV community education resources and website.
  • Reach, impact, adoption, and implementation of peer education programs for young people.
  • Reach, impact, adoption, and implementation of online resources for clinicians. 


The project is funded by the Commonwealth Government under Outcome 3 Activity 6: Increasing Uptake of Testing and Treatment for BBV and STI in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities Living in Remote and Very Remote Areas under the Fourth National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood-borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy 2014-2017.


The Young Deadly Free project seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through increases in health literacy, skills, and the uptake of testing and treatment for STIs and BBVs. It will also provide an opportunity for the development of career pathways for youth peer educators, recognition of prior learning through the peer education training for community service or Aboriginal health worker certificates. The project is also expected to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with STIs and BBVs.

In addition to discussing the lessons learned from the project, including enablers and barriers to implementation, the final project report will also provide:

  • Clear recommendations on how to enhance the efficacy of future similar projects.
  • Insight into the effectiveness of the methodologies adopted for each component/subactivity as well as the strategies for communicating and engaging with the priority populations and target communities.
  • Support and enable Aboriginal clinicians to mentor and create career pathways that will increase the capacity of Aboriginal people to promote health.
  • Strategic advice to Governments promoting practice and policy based on best available evidence.


D’Costa, B., Lobo, R., & Ward, J. (2021). Lessons learned from the implementation of the Young Deadly Free peer education programme in remote and very remote Australian Aboriginal communities. Sex Education 1–15. 

Lobo, R., D’Costa, B., Forbes, L., & Ward, J. (2020). Young deadly free: Impact evaluation of a sexual health youth peer education program in remote australian communities. Sexual Health (Online), 17(5), 397-404.

Lobo, R., D’Costa, B., Thomas, J., & Ward, J. (2019). Evaluation of the Young Deadly Free Peer Education Training Program: Early Results, Methodological Challenges, and Learnings for Future Evaluations. Front. Public Health 7:74.