Promoting positive and responsible sexual health
Community and Public Health promotes healthy relationships, positive sexual and reproductive health, and responsible sexual behaviour.
Our aim to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies. We also aim to reduce levels of sexual violence in our communities and levels of stigma towards sexual minorities.
Staff at Community and Public Health provide the following services:
- Sexual and reproductive health information to the public.
- Distribution of condoms and lubricants.
- A programme of seminars to update and inform those working in the area of sexual health especially with youth. Contact Diane Shannon at the Christchurch office for more information (+64 3 378 6755).
- Support the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community.
- Contact tracing for Sexually Transmitted Infections.
- Produce a sexual health newsletter twice a year.
Here are some ideas on positive sexual health behaviours:
- Healthy relationships are the key to good sexual health – respect yourself and your partner.
- Delay your first sexual experience until you are sure you are ready.
- Use condoms and lube every time. Lube makes condoms less likely to break and increases pleasure.
- Reach out for help if you are being pressured to have sex – your body, your decision.
- Limit numbers of sexual partners.
- Use reliable contraception unless you want a baby now.
- Protect your whakapapa (family tree). Untreated STIs can cause infertility.
- Have regular sexual health check ups as some STIs have no symptoms.
- Drinking alcohol can affect the decisions you make, including around sex.
Dealing with sexual health issues and infections in New Zealand
New Zealand has high rates of STIs and unintended pregnancies compared to other countries. Chlamydia rates are especially high among young people aged 15 to 24 years and gonorrhoea rates are also high in some areas.
Syphilis rates are steadily increasing. The highest rates are still among men who have sex with men (MSM) but rates are also increasing among heterosexual men and women. Of particular concern are the cases of congenital syphilis (mother to baby) now being seen.
However there has been a significant drop in genital warts cases since the introduction of the HPV vaccine – now available free for boys as well as girls. Abortion rates among teenage girls have also dropped dramatically and this is likely due to increased education and the emphasis placed on the use of contraception.
Pre Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is available to now available in Christchurch to people who are at high risk of becoming infected with HIV. Contact the Christchurch Sexual Health Centre for further information.
Restrictions on abortion medication lifted for health practitioners
Beehive media release: 9th October 2021
Abortion services can now be provided in primary care, meaning people can access this care from someone like their trusted GP and in a familiar setting, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
“By lifting some restrictions on the funded medications used for early medical abortions, more health practitioners can prescribe them at low cost. This improves New Zealanders’ access to safe, quality abortion services,” Ayesha Verrall said.
“While overall the number of abortions has been falling in recent years, it’s important to ensure people who need this health service can go to a medical professional they know and trust.”
Funded medication was only previously available to health practitioners working in Family Planning clinics or connected to DHB hospitals. Now these medications can also be prescribed by other trained health practitioners working in primary care such as GPs, midwives, and Nurse Practitioners – via a Practitioner Supply Order.
Strengthened reporting will improve abortion and sterilisation services
Beehive media release: 25th September 2021
Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced new data and reporting regulations which will help improve abortion and sterilisation services in New Zealand, by painting a clearer picture of the need in our communities.
“The Government is committed to ensuring everyone who needs to access abortion services can – regardless of their situation or where they live,” Ayesha Verrall said.
Service providers are required to collect and report on their services and the procedures they perform under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act.
“These regulations are one of the ways we can have oversight of, and improve, abortion, abortion-related counselling and sterilisation services.
“Collecting this data helps us identify gaps in the system, and understand more about the barriers people face to accessing these key health services and how we can better meet their needs.
“We’ve now broadened what non-identifiable patient information is gathered. This will still include things such as the person’s ethnicity and age, while also noting data such as the wait time for the service, how it was funded, and whether it was a self-referral.
“These changes follow the abortion law reforms which saw abortion removed from the Crimes Act in 2020, to ensure it is rightly treated as a health issue,” Ayesha Verrall said.
Contact your local CPH office for further information:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169
Information for the LGBTQIA+ community
The Community and Public Health website now has a new page on health for the local rainbow community!
Sexual Health Services in Your Area:
Useful Phone Numbers
Family Planning Line
0800 46 36 54
Cervical Screening Programme
0800 729 729
Healthline (to speak to a nurse anytime)
0800 611 116
0800 37 66 33
0800 802 437
OUTline (for rainbow community)
0800 688 5463
Safe to talk (Sexual harm support line)
0800 044 334 or text 4334
Christchurch Sexual Health Centre
03 364 0485 or 027 212 7335
Rodger Wright Centre
03 365 2293
NZ Prostitutes Collective
03 365 2595
The REAL Sex Talk online
This web series has been developed to educate Kiwi teenagers about sex in an approachable and informative manner. The series features a variety of New Zealand celebrities who openly share their own personal sexual experiences on camera. Local medical experts also feature in each episode with practical advice and information on sex, sexual health, relationships and identity.
Topics covered so far are include:
- The first time;
- Consent, contraception and protection;
- Sexually transmitted infections;
- Respect, relationships and peer pressure; and
- Pleasure and masturbation.
The REAL Sex Talk videos are available online from:
The REAL Sex Talk is supported by Rape Prevention Education, Family Planning and Rainbow Youth.