INDEPENDENT NEWS

Sexual health neglect by the Govt.

Published: Sun 24 Oct 1999 07:40 PM
Labour health spokesperson Annette King says the National Government is responsible for a 'sexually transmitted disease timebomb'.
Mrs King was commenting on a news report this evening on a new survey suggesting STDs in New Zealand was rising rapidly. For example the survey, carried out in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, shows that 379 out of 100,000 people have chlamydia a rate three times higher than in Canada and even higher than in the United States.
"National has refused to recognise the importance of properly funded specialised clinics. Nationwide, funding for sexual health services has declined by around 25 percent," Annette King said.
"It is therefore misleading for Wyatt Creech to claim on television tonight that National is addressing the problem. Clearly they are not. In fact Mr Creech's comment contradict statements by the Health Funding Authority made earlier this week that there is no extra money available for sexual health treatment and prevention in the Auckland region at least until the new year.
"Yet since funding was cut last year to the Auckland Sexual Health Service, cases of gonorrhoea in Auckland have risen by 20 percent. There is currently a ten day wait for treatment - when the contact spread time for gonorrhoea is three days.
"National is moving in the opposite direction to the best practice followed overseas, in a short-sighted attempt to save relatively small sums of money. This will not be allowed to happen under a Labour Government.
"Labour sees protecting New Zealanders from sexually transmitted diseases as a core public health service. Because of the personal nature of sexual health, and the complex nature of STDs, it is necessary to have highly trained staff. That is why Labour is committed to the provision of a national specialist sexual health service, which has easy community access and is free.
The Waikato-Bay of Plenty survey shows that this approach is desperately needed," Annette King said.

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