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.
- 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 through the Pink Health Ōtautahi project.
- 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 –some STIs have no symptoms.
- Drinking alcohol can affect the decisions you make, including around sex.
Get checked before you break out of your bubble and get jiggy (or do the jiggle wiggle)
Canterbury DHB media release: 14th May 2020
Canterbury DHB’s sexual health team is urging anyone who’s bursting to break out of their bubble to connect with someone in a more intimate way, to get themselves checked out.
Clinical Director of Canterbury DHB’s sexual health service, Dr Ed Coughlan says the enforced period of lockdown has provided a unique situation where there have been limited opportunities for Sexually Transmitted Infections to spread.
“This is a unique opportunity for people to have their sexual health checked before they break out of their bubbles. To know you’re clear of infection is a great way to head into Alert Level 2,” he said.
Whatever your age you can have a sexual health check at Canterbury DHB’s Sexual Health Service. These check-ups are free for New Zealand citizens and residents and certain visa holders. They even provide free condoms for safer sex. If you want to check you meet the eligibility criteria you can call the Sexual Health Centre on 03 364 0485.
Your General Practice Team or Family Planning Clinic are also good places to get checked. It’s important to remember that not all infections are itchy, sore or have spots, and it’s not just young people who need to get checked. Untreated Sexually Transmitted Infections can cause all sorts of problems for all sorts of people.
It makes no difference whether you identify as a boomer, a millennial, Gen X, Y or Z or LGBTQI+. What’s important is that you take your sexual health seriously, and care enough to make time for a check before you reignite your love life under Alert Level Two.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says now is the perfect time for people to get a check-up and make sure they don’t start their own chain of ‘community transmission’ as people start to connect after a period of restraint in their own bubble.
“We want to save our contact tracing efforts for COVID-19,” says Dr Pink. “If hooking up with someone is on your mind, do the right thing and get yourself checked to avoid giving them more than you mean to,” Dr Pink said.
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.
Support available for LGBTQ Youth
A number of agencies and organisations are available to support gay, lesbian, queer and transgender youth.
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
Sexual Health Services in Your Area:
Useful Phone Numbers
Family Planning Line
0800 46 36 54
Cervical Screening Programme
0800 729 729
Healthline (For a nurse 24 hours)
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.