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New sexual health campaign pulls no punches.

A new Ministry of health sexual health campaign has a strong message to young people--No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba. The campaign aims to reduce high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in sexually active teenagers by encouraging them to use a condom every time they have sex.

Launched at Parliament in November by the Minister of health Annette King, the campaign uses a variety of media, including television, cinema, radio, outdoor advertising, magazines, print resources and a website.

The ministry's Acting Director of Public health, Doug Lush, says this is a serious health issue that needs to be tackled head on. "We can pretend our young people are not sexually active, and watch our STI rates continue to climb. Or we can be proactive and realistic and give sexually active teens the toot[ to protect themselves against chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV and other sexually transmitted viruses and infections.

"Chlamydia rates in some parts of New Zealand are six times higher than those reported in Australia and four times higher than those reported in the United Kingdom. The infection is particularly prevalent in females aged 15 to 19 years."

If left untreated, complications from chlamydia can include pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal scarring and subsequent pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Chlamydia trachomatis infections are now the most commonly diagnosed STI in New Zealand.

The campaign was developed with ongoing support and advice from a working group made up of key organisations and individuals with an interest in sexual health. Members include representatives from the Family Planning Association, the AIDS Foundation, Te Puawai Tapu, the Prostitutes Collective, sexual health physicians, district health boards and the Ministry of health.

According to information provided by the ministry, research into the effectiveness of abstinence campaigns shows that, while young people exposed to the programmes may delay sexual intercourse, when they do have sex they are less likely to use contraception and condoms, and have less knowledge of STIs and how to protect themselves.

One study has found that more than 20 percent of secondary school students were sexually active, white another found even higher rates among 14 and 15 year-olds. New Zealand aLso has a high number of unintended or unwanted pregnancies. In one recent Dunedin study, 60 percent of pregnancies to women under 25 were unintended. New Zealand's teenage birth rate (27.3 per 1000 women aged 15 to 19) is third highest of 28 countries. Among Maori women aged 15-19, the rate is 74 births per 1000 women.

In 2003, 188 new cases of HIM infection were notified, the largest number since 1991. A quarter of these were reported to have been infected in New Zealand.

The No Rubba, No Hubba Hubba campaign runs to the end of February 2005. Resources for parents/caregivers and teens are available free from the ministry. E-mail moh@wickliffe.co.nz or phone 04 496 2277.
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Title Annotation:News And Events
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:478
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