Teen pregnancy `too high’

The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 4 April 2007
The Government is being asked to help tackle high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. A Youth Sexual Health report, made public yesterday, makes 20 recommendations that include a nationwide sex education programme, better surveillance of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), free condoms and emergency contraception and having nurses who can offer sexual health services at every school.

The report, by the New Zealand Parliamentarians’ Group on Population and Development, says New Zealand has the second highest rate of teenage pregnancy among OECD countries. Last year, the teen fertility rate was 28.4 births per 1000 women aged between 15 and 19. Only the United States has a poorer rate, of 45 births per 1000. Teen pregnancy rates have been increasing since 2002, after declining in the 1990s.

Under-25s have the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, genital warts and genital herpes in New Zealand. “The sexual and reproductive health of young people in New Zealand is being threatened by high rates of bacterial STIs,” the report said.