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.
New resources for schools on consent, gender diversity and inclusion
Beehive media release: 13th April 2022
Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti has today launched a number of new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of relationships and sexuality education (RSE) in schools and kura.
“I want all our schools to be safe places for all our students whatever their gender, race, nationality, beliefs, or sexual orientation.
“Students who are happy and confident learn better. These new wellbeing resources will help our children and young people build quality relationships throughout their lives, with each other, and with others in their schools and communities. They are all designed to foster a sense of confidence and trust, and an appreciation of difference and diversity in our schools and our communities,” Jan Tinetti says.
“These resources include information about consent, digital safety, and healthy relationships. They are clear, easy to use, bicultural and inclusive. There are resources to provide teachers with practical skills and evidence-based information to talk about pornography. The suite also includes resources specifically designed for Māori-medium settings and for English-medium settings,” Jan Tinetti says.
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.
Abortion services now more accessible for West Coasters
West Coast DHB media release: 26th April 2022
West Coast DHB has recently implemented abortion services on the West Coast for pregnancies less than 12 weeks. These services will increase accessibility and address inequities by removing barriers and delays while also offering several choices.
“These changes are a major development for pregnant West Coasters who previously had to travel to Christchurch for these services. It’s important for anyone considering their options to have easy access to the required support including pre-decision and post-procedure counselling,” says Executive Director – Midwifery and Maternity Services Norma Campbell.
Counselling is available from a Qualified Pregnancy Counsellor or Social Worker based in Greymouth, Westport and Hokitika should you wish to explore feelings and issues related to an unplanned pregnancy and the options available. This is a professional, confidential and free service.
Anyone wanting to access abortion services can self-refer to the Christchurch Women’s Hospital’s Gynaecology Procedure Unit or ask their GP or family planning for a referral.
“While you no longer need a GP referral to have an abortion, we still recommend making an appointment with your GP – there is no cost associated with this visit – to discuss your options, confirm how many weeks pregnant you are and to make a referral if you decide to proceed,” said Clinical Director Transalpine and Rural Dr Brendan Marshall.
Available options include early medical abortion via telehealth, early medical abortion outpatients and surgical abortion. If your pregnancy is over 12 weeks and 1 day, you will be referred to the Gynaecology Procedure Unit.
The Canterbury DHB has created an interim telehealth abortion service for both DHBs until the National Abortion Service is rolled out in November 2022. This ensures that anyone wishing to use this service is provided with the necessary care and support as close to home as possible.
Government launches free telehealth service to provide 24/7 abortion support
Beehive media release: 23rd February 2022
A new national abortion telehealth service called Decide is the latest milestone in improving abortion services, Associate Health Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
“Decide will connect people to abortion information, advice and counselling over the phone, from health practitioners anywhere in the country,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.
Currently, abortion telehealth services are offered by some District Health Boards (DHBs), but not all. Expanding this service nationally is a huge step in improving access to abortion services.
“In-person care will always be offered, but it’s important that other options are available as well where suitable.
“Telehealth makes it easier for people to reach the services and support that already exist, particularly those who find it difficult to visit a doctor or clinic. It also gives assurance to health practitioners that their patients have additional sources of support.”
Decide will be rolled out in three phases:
- Referrals and information about abortion services will be available from 26th April 2022.
- Follow-up care and abortion-related counselling will be available from 1st July 2022.
- The final phase is set for November 2022 and will include couriering medications and telemedicine – providing clinical consultations for an early medical abortion over the phone.
Decide will be led by Family Planning and Magma Healthcare (also trading as The Women’s Clinic). Both organisations are recognised experts in abortion and sexual health, alongside DHB providers, and have experience in providing sexual health and abortion services via telehealth.
Contact your local CPH office for further information:
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Information for the LGBTQIA+ community
The Community and Public Health website has a specific webpage 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.