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Sexual Health Programmes Cuts Cost - Labour

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern

Wellington, Feb 7 NZPA - The Government is paying for its decision to cut funds for sexual health programmes, now having to find more money for treatments, Labour says.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said today that new information from District Health Boards (DHBs) showed an increasingly high prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections in New Zealand's youth.

Yet a plan to deal with the problem was dropped in the budget.

"In May 2010, Health Minister Tony Ryall scrapped $8 million in funding aimed at health promotion programmes to encourage high-risk groups to be tested for chlamydia, to prevent the further spread of the disease," Ms Ardern said.

"From the information I've collated, it's obvious that the majority of DHBs are doing the very best they can to ensure that the youth in their region have access to sexual health facilities, but often struggle to deliver services due to a lack of funding and resources."

Ms Ardern cited the Bay of Plenty as an example, saying it was found that almost 22 percent of all girls and women between the ages of 15-24 were treated for Chlamydia.

"Other DHBs have indicated that the levels of STIs in their regions are rising at a considerable pace," she said.

"Cutting the funding in this area was stupid. How much is the Government now spending on treating people with STIs rather than investing in a prevention programme?"

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