International students make up an increasing proportion of university students in Australia. Research suggests that they have poor sexual health knowledge compared with local students.
Thematic analysis was undertaken on focus groups carried out at the University of Adelaide (South Australia), with 21 female international students from Malaysia and China.
Four themes were identified: poor sexual health knowledge; complex attitudes about premarital sex; difficulty accessing sexual health information, and poor understanding the role of general practitioners in this area; and ideas about future education.
Participants believed that international students have insufficient sexual health education when they arrive in Australia. They were concerned that some students may become more sexually active in Australia, and may not have adequate access to health services and
information. All participants felt it was necessary for international students to receive better sexual health education. International students are important to Australian universities, and it should be mandatory to ensure that culturally appropriate sex education is made available to this group.
International students make up an increasing proportion of university students in Australia. In 2008 there were 435 000 international students studying in Australia1 with the largest group being from China (22.2%).2 A recent Australian survey suggested that international students have poor sexual health knowledge compared with local students.3
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