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Condom reaction surprises

Condom reaction surprises

1 July, 2004

Some public reaction this week to an initiative of students at an Auckland secondary school - to offer condoms with ball tickets as a safer sex health promotion strategy - has surprised the Family Planning Association.

Executive Director, Dr Gill Greer, says those who criticised the initiative need to consider the double message they are sending to young people.

“On one hand we expect young people to act responsibly – but when they do raise awareness of this with their peers, a reaction like this can make them feel guilty.

“The social realities are that many young people of 16 and 17 are sexually active, and of course we would want them to act responsibly and with respect for each other and using a condom is part of that – unless, as the students’ flyer said, they choose to say no.

“Some people would clearly like to see us return to the 1950’s, but regardless of how we would like the world to be, we have to take a realistic approach, and young people need access to good quality sexuality education and services so they can make decisions for themselves.

“This debate has provided an ideal opportunity for all New Zealand parents and young people to talk together about sex, sexual feelings and the need to respect themselves and each other.

“At least it has encouraged people from one end of the country to the other to talk about condoms,” Dr Greer said.

FPA continues to encourage young people to delay sexual activity until it can be managed responsibly. We would like to encourage those who do decide to have sex, to be safe and use a condom - and preferably another form of contraception too.

To support this, FPA is launching a winter safer sex campaign this weekend on billboards around the country. Eleven billboard sites will carry the image of a mannequin wearing a scarf made of condom wrappers. The tagline is “wrap up this winter.” The month-long campaign is supported by Durex and there will be billboards in Auckland, Wellington, Waipawa, Ruakaka, Christchurch and Dunedin. The image will also appear in a sports magazine.

ENDS

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