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.
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 in heterosexual men and women. HIV rates are still rising, especially among MSM.
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 – 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.
Our key messages are:
- 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.
Staff at Community and Public Health provide the following services:
- Sexual and reproductive health information to the public.
- Distribution of condoms and lubricants.
- 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.
- Handle requests for information and complaints around the Prostitution Reform Act.
- Produce a sexual health newsletter twice a year.
Support available for GLBTQ 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
New national action plan released to curb rise in syphilis cases
Ministry of Health media release: 26th June 2019
The Ministry of Health has released its new National Syphilis Action Plan in an important step in reversing a growing number of cases of the infection.
Cases of syphilis in New Zealand have been on the rise, following a similar trend in other countries. New Zealand had 543 cases of syphilis in 2018 – 454 in males and 89 in females. That compares to 2017 with 480 cases, and 2016 with 322. Six years ago there were just 82 reported cases of syphilis.
Syphilis can be treated and cured with early intervention and antibiotics.
“We’re very concerned at the growth in numbers, particularly around the rise of congenital syphilis, when infection is spread from mother to baby during pregnancy,” says the Ministry’s Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Niki Stefanogiannis.
“Congenital syphilis doesn’t belong in New Zealand. The numbers are too high, and it’s really important we do as much as we can now.”
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.