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We work in partnership with universities and other tertiary education settings to reach our local student population (including international students) with health information and programs.

SHAPE Program

Peer education is an effective way to work with young people on sexual health issues.

The Sexual Health and Peer Educator (SHAPE) program (part of Play Safe Pro Programs) aims to foster an environment of sex positivity amongst students and their peers in university settings.

The Population Health team deliver interactive training to build the knowledge and confidence of students to engage with their peers regarding sexual health. The training is co-delivered with a clinician from the Sexual Health Service and supports soft referrals to local services for access to contraception, testing and care. Online sexual health resources, such as Play Safe are also included in the training for an easy future reference point for participants. Our SHAPE peer educators promote non-judgemental, inclusive, healthy and positive conversations about sex and sexuality.

The SHAPE program is customised to each setting, addressing the needs of tertiary education providers and their students.

We receive positive feedback from student support services and participants (including university students and peers) – including:

  • "The facilitators were inclusive, patient, funny, and knowledgeable. They were also very good at meeting the class at their level of understanding."
  • "I liked how engaging each activity was, often times learning about a topic for a while can be very draining. However, having activities to practically apply what we learnt made it easier to grasp the content and stay attentive."
  • "The whole non-judgemental atmosphere of the training was respectful and nice."
  • "Getting exposed to the use of sexual protective measurements and to understand sexual health from other perspectives. Coming from a conservative Asian culture, these are not things that are discussed openly within my community. Hence, this opened up my eyes into sexual health space where I can learn more and ask freely about sexual health questions that I have in mind."

Contact our team to find out more about including the SHAPE program in your tertiary education setting – SLHD-PriorityPopulationsPrograms@health.nsw.gov.au or visit the Play Safe website and Play Safe Pro website for more information, including access to order a monthly supply of free condoms for your service.

Health Literacy Education Program

Our 1-day Health Literacy Education pilot program is held at the University of Sydney Centre for English Training. It is a program for students learn how to access and navigate health services, including communication skills and creative methods to engage young people in discussing sexual health and exploring their values. 

The program includes:

  • Grouping and voting ideas based on common themes, importance, or accuracy.
  • Warm-ups and icebreakers to open up a safe space to discuss sexual health concepts, pre-conceived notions and group norms.
  • Establishing group agreements that allow participants to be responsible for their own learning behaviours (for example, asking questions non-judgmentally).
  • Using values continuums to safely discuss opposing opinions and gauge a person’s sense of justice – whether they agree or disagree on controversial statements.
  • Skills practice – providing scenarios and role-play situations to help students practise their new strategies for navigating sex and consent conversations in a real-world scenarios.

The sessions are co-facilitated with speakers who have lived experience to help students learn about cultural diversity, working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, and working with LGBTQI+ young people.

This program is available for tertiary education settings. For more information, contact us at SLHD-PriorityPopulationsPrograms@health.nsw.gov.au

International Students Consortium

We co-lead the International Students Consortium in partnership with the NSW STI Programs Unit. The purpose of this consortium is to maintain and improve communication between the Ministry of Health, Local Health Districts, other Government and private organisations working with international students.

The consortium also works to:

  • Identify gaps and where other programs can be scaled up and where working in partnership may extend reach.
  • Identify levers to ensure greater access for those students accessing information, prevention interventions and health care.
  • Support research with international students through collaborative research projects.
  • Develop a collective communications and work plan.

Visit the internationalstudents.health.nsw.gov.au hub for more information.

Past Projects




Mongolian Community Project

March – December 2022

We have worked with the Mongolian community, including international students, to increase knowledge of hepatitis B, cancer screening, and mental health as well as support health service navigation.

10 education workshops both in Mongolian and English were delivered, covering various health topics, including hepatitis B, cervical screening, health access, mental health and pre and postal natal.

HIV Project – International Language Students

2017 – 2019

Our project reached international students attending English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) programs with HIV knowledge and promote access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment.

The project worked with over 15 English language colleges and delivered more than 50 education sessions, reaching approximately 2000 international students. In 2019, the project won Sydney Local Health District ‘Keeping People Healthy’ award.

To learn more about current and past projects working with university students, contact us at SLHD-DiversityHub@health.nsw.gov.au

Useful links

International Student Health Hub

Improves access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for international students.

NSW Sexual Health Infolink

Access to evidence based information on all aspects of HIV, STIs and sexual health.

Play Safe

Play Safe Pro

Everything you need to know for a confident and healthy sex life.