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Sexual health neglect

Labour 2000 web site
A sexually transmitted timebomb has been created by the National Government's neglect, Labour health spokesperson Annette King said today.

"A reported rise in the cases of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in Wellington is a warning to the entire country. The Government must take responsibility because it is treating sexual health as a non-core service. It is putting at risk the health of New Zealanders.

"National has refused to recognise the importance of properly funded specialised clinics. Nationwide, funding for sexual health services has declined by around 25 percent.

Since funding was cut last year to the Auckland Sexual Health Service, cases of gonorrhoea in Auckland have risen by 20 percent. There is currently a ten day wait for treatment - when the contact spread time for gonorrhoea is three days.

"Now, as it has done in Wellington, National intends to tender out sexual health services in Auckland to try and save even more money.

"National is moving in the opposite direction to the best practice followed overseas, in a short-sighted attempt to save relatively small sums of money.

"This will not be allowed to happen under a Labour Government," Annette King said.

"Labour sees protecting New Zealanders from sexually transmitted diseases as a core public health service.

"Because of the personal nature of sexual health, and the complex nature of STDs, it is necessary to have highly trained staff. That is why Labour is committed to the provision of a national specialist sexual health service, which has easy community access and is free.

"We will also support a national health promotion strategy to reduce the incidence of HIV and AIDS.

"No-one wants an STD. New Zealanders should be able to get help from a comprehensive, properly funded and readily accessible sexual health service," Annette King said.

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