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Labour ignoring sexual disease crisis

Nicky Wagner MP
National Party Youth Affairs Spokeswoman

10 May 2007

Labour ignoring sexual disease crisis

The number of young New Zealanders with sexually transmitted diseases is spiralling, with many young women particularly at risk, says National's Youth Affairs spokeswoman, Nicky Wagner.

The latest STI surveillance report from ESR shows that from 2002 to 2006 the number of gonorrhoea cases increased by 52% and cases of chlamydia were up by almost 28%.

"It's time the Labour Government took notice of this hugely alarming rate. What's even more worrying is that experts say these figures are the tip of the iceberg.

"The effects of the 'Hubba Bubba' campaign haven't lasted. More young people are getting STIs, not fewer.

"What's needed is a renewed emphasis on education and personal responsibility. Young New Zealanders need an attitude change.

"Young people must be made aware of the seriousness of sexually transmitted infections and how to prevent getting them.

"Young women in particular must understand that as well as chronic pain, they are at risk of not being able to become mothers. Between 10% and 40% of women with untreated chlamydia develop pelvic inflammatory disease, and up to one in five women of these will become infertile.

"Youth healthcare must be accessible, with confidential treatment services available in the community.

"Where are the tough long-term sexual health campaigns that have worked so effectively in other parts of the world?

"What's the point of spending millions on a short-term 'Hubba Bubba' campaign when there should be a long-term continuing message?

"Instead of spending millions on bureaucracy and managers, it's time these resources were focused on strong and effective public health messages.

"Young people want to be informed, and that's what the Government should be doing."

ENDS

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