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Sex In The Park

Sex In The Park

Sex in the park, a free youth event to highlight World Aids Day, will be held again in Christchurch this month on Sunday 30th November in Bromley Park.

‘It has a catchy theme with a serious message’ said Chris Woods, nurse/health promoter at the CDHB’s Community & Public Health Division. ‘The high STI infection rate among young New Zealanders shows that they are having sex without condoms. This puts them at risk of catching HIV.’

‘Many young people are starting sexual activity at a younger age, putting their emotional and physical health at risk. While STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea are curable even though they have serious complications such as infertility, there is still no cure for AIDS.’

Ms Woods said the overall theme for the day was about showing respect for individual health.

‘This is a message for everyone.’

World Vision will also be involved in the day with the runners participating in a new event ‘Run For Their Lives’. They expect to reach Christchurch in time to join in the activities in the park. They are running from Cape Reinga to Bluff to raise money and awareness for communities devastated by AIDS.

HIV/AIDS STATISTICS There was a significant rise in new HIV infections in the South Island in 2002, and this trend seems to be continuing in 2003. In 2002, 18 people (14 homosexual and 4 heterosexual) were found to be infected with HIV in the South Island, a rise from an average of 8 over each of the previous 6 years. In New Zealand as a whole 16 new AIDS diagnoses and 87 new HIV infections have been recorded in the first 6 months of 2003. The risk of exposure to HIV infection through one act of sexual intercourse is higher now in New Zealand than it has ever been at any time in the history of the epidemic. This is because there are now more people living with HIV in NZ than ever before.

Sources: AIDS Epidemiology Group, Otago Medical School, Dunedin. NZ AIDS Foundation.

STI STATISTICS Chlamydia rates rose by more than 100% between 1995 and 2001 Chlamydia infections are still increasing and are threatening to take over as the number one STI in New Zealand, despite having a simple cure available. Chlamydia increased during 2002 to 10,307 cases (i.e. a rate of 598 per 100,000 population). This is 5 times higher than that reported in Australia in the same period. Also rates of gonorrhoea, at 54 cases per 100,000,were almost double that of Australia. There was a 95% increase in gonorrhoea here between 1996 and 2001. Syphilis is also on the rise with rates doubling in 2002, from an average of 20 cases per year to 47. This is an increase of 161% from 18 cases in 2001. Young people are most affected, especially those of Maori and Pacific ancestry.

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