Championing The Condom CultureYouth Affairs
Hon Deborah Morris today in Auckland congratulated the graduates of the Peer Sexuality Support Programme. The graduates have just completed a training programme enabling them to support their peers in the areas of sex education, relationships and sexuality.
"The value of positive peer pressure is immense. We hear a lot about negative peer pressure such as bullying, smoking, drinking or sex, but it can be turned into a positive thing.
"As young people we are often one of the healthiest groups in our communities. We are not as vulnerable to diseases as the very young or very old. But, despite our better health we are often not as well-informed on health issues as older people," said Deborah Morris.
A 1996 Education Review Office study showed that approximately 50% of schools were not adequately teaching the sexual health curriculum. The Minister acknowledged the need for groups like the Peer Sexuality Support Programme to provide opportunities for young people to address sexual health issues outside the school environment.
"More and more frequently we are hearing of great new breakthroughs in the fight against STDs, especially HIV and AIDS. This is great, but we must not become complacent.
"There are still many people prepared to risk having unsafe sex without a condom or other contraception - this is unacceptable. We need to champion the condom culture.
"Perhaps one of the most successful things we can do to promote safe sex amongst our young people is to provide accessible and FREE contraception. We need to ensure that contraception is available in places that young people can readily access them. They need to be available in places where young people meet, such as schools, youth clubs, One Stop Health Shops, from GPs, and Health Clinics," said Deborah Morris.