Sexual Health Funding to Focus on “High Risk” Groups

SexualNew Zealand’s Associate Health Minister, Tariana Turia, has announced that the Ministry of Health will be taking a new approach to sexual and reproductive health initiatives by aiming sexual health programmes at high risk groups.

Mrs. Turia has stated that any new programmes would be funded by drawing from previously existing sexual health programmes. The new sexual and reproductive health initiatives are expected to be allocated $7.3 million of "reprioritised" budget money. No new money has been committed to these initiatives.

By focusing on high risk populations, Mrs. Turia believes that this new approach will produce better results at the same cost.

According to Turia, the money will be used for evaluating school-based sexual education programmes, evaluating condom and health promotion activities with a focus on reducing the stigma faced by people living with HIV and AIDS, and completing the African communities research project and Chlamydia project.

The new approach will also focus heavily on young Maori and Pasifika people, where populations experience a particularly high rate of sexually transmitted infections.

According to Mrs. Turia, "New Zealand has high rates of sexually transmitted infections... the incidence of chlamydia in Maori youth is double that of non-Maori youth".

However, New Zealand First claims that the move to focus on high risk communities is as an attempt to shift funding from community groups to the “Mongrel Mob” and “Black Power”.