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Don’t Leave Home Until You’re ‘Well Packed”

Don’t Leave Home Until You’re ‘Well Packed” Say Family Planning & Positive Women

New Zealanders heading overseas are getting a reminder from Family Planning and Positive Women to make sure they are “Well packed.”

The two organisations have collaborated on a campaign that encourages all travellers to carry condoms and lube to keep themselves safe, if they have sex while overseas.

Family Planning Director, Health Promotion and Professional Development, Frances Bird, says while people may not intend having sex while they are overseas, unplanned sex can happen.

“This campaign is about making sure men and women think about this possibility and are prepared just in case.”

Positive Women Co-ordinator, Jane Bruning, said the fact is that the most common way of getting HIV is through sex, and condoms are still the best protection against HIV and most Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

STIs are common around the world and it’s not possible to tell if someone is infected – many people don’t even know themselves as some STIs can be present with no symptoms, Ms Bruning said. There are concerning increases in STIs in New Zealanders returning from popular holiday destinations, including the Pacific Islands.

The “Well Packed” campaign is an awareness raising project and includes a small information pamphlet and postcard. Both give practical information on packing condoms and lube before you travel – with tips like: keep condoms away from heat, suntan lotion, baby oil and Vaseline; check expiry dates; and check to make sure they have had the quality check by showing the international condom standard ISO 4074:2002 stamp.

The postcards and pamphlets are targeted to inform New Zealanders aged 18 to 35 and will be given to travel doctors and travel agents marketing travel for this age group. The information will then be included with their tickets in the travel packs.

Ms Bird said Family Planning and Positive Women considered this an important campaign, particularly since much of the new HIV infection in the heterosexual population in New Zealand continues to be contracted outside the country.

“The global trend is now for more heterosexual transmission of HIV and we must ensure that New Zealanders do not take risks with their health – particularly in countries where there is more HIV infection.”

Ms Bird said the “Well Packed” campaign also advises women using the oral contraceptive pill to take an extra packet of pills with them – and keep one in their main luggage and one in their cabin baggage. It also reminds them to keep taking their pill when crossing times zones and note the formulation of the pill because other countries may not have the same name brand. And for protection in case of illness or forced sex, carry the Emergency Contraceptive Pill. It can be used up to 72 hours after sex.

Family Planning and Positive Women are grateful for the support of Durex and the M.A.C. Aids Fund with this campaign.

Ends

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