Promoting safer sex : an examination of agencies within the New Plymouth area providing sexual health education programmes for adolescents : a report presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Social Policy at Massey University
The aim of this report is to identify and describe community agencies in the New Plymouth District that provide sexual health and education programmes to adolescents. Sexual health education appears to reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. When compared to other OECD countries, New Zealand has one of the highest adolescent birth and abortion rates. The incidence of sexually transmitted disease is also rising. Seven local organisations were identified and participated in this study. I met with representatives from five of the organisations. Two organisations responded to my questionnaire by way of written report. Six of the eight local High Schools also returned details of the sexual health and education programmes they provide to their students. A wide range of topics are discussed ranging from pubertal issues to sexual intercourse and pregnancy. Results from community organisations highlighted similarities and differences between the agencies. Course content attempts to deal with adolescent sexuality in the broad context of adolescent behaviour. Providers agreed that sexuality has to be considered within the context of issues relevant to adolescence. Therefore programmes need to contain not only sexual health information but also other issues important to adolescents such as relationship building skills and vocational goals. This report is able to be used as a resource for statutory and voluntary social services and health professionals in the New Plymouth area.