Promoting positive and responsible sexual and reproductive 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.
- Support the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community.
- Contact tracing for Sexually Transmitted Infections.
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.
Contact your local office for further information:
CANTERBURY, MID CANTERBURY AND CHATHAM ISLANDS
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Sexual Health Services in Your Area
Information on changes to access to abortion and pregnancy services
DECIDE is the new national abortion telehealth service. It connects people anywhere in the country to information and advice on pregnancy options and abortion.
“The free nationwide 24/7 abortion telehealth service DECIDE will connect callers to a health practitioner over the phone who can help guide someone through the process of an early medical abortion,” says Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.
“After consulting with the practitioner if a person wishes to proceed they can then choose whether to have medicines couriered to them or to pick them up from a supporting pharmacy.”
You can call freephone 0800 DECIDE (0800 332 433) to speak to a trained health professional. They can give you information about your options or help you arrange in-person care.
Most abortion services and related counselling services are free in New Zealand to any pregnant person eligible for publicly funded health services. This includes NZ citizens, permanent residents or those on appropriate visas.
Support services for sexual health issues
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
Turning up the heat on sex
Some innovative projects are blowing the lid off secrets and whispers around sexual health.
Equitable access to information about sexual and reproductive health is critical but the topic can be shrouded in complex issues of culture, discomfort and controversy.
Viewer discretion is advised – must be 18+!
Ai, Let’s talk about sex is a digital video series for rangatahi. It features young, bilingual, Māori panellists discussing a wide range of topics to do with sexual and reproductive health.
Tapu Vā is a place where Pasifika peoples are encouraged to join the talanoa about Pacific attitudes to sex, its tapu nature, their own experiences and their aspirations for their communities’ sexual health. There are also videos of young Pasifika people talking about their aspirations for Pacific sexual health.
The REAL Sex Talk videos educate Kiwi teenagers about sex in an approachable and informative manner. The videos features a variety of New Zealand celebrities openly share their own personal sexual experiences as well as practical advice from local medical experts. This web series is available online from: