“Then we need to act on that data. We should harness New Zealand’s contact tracing expertise we’ve grown for COVID-19 and repurpose it for STIs, so we can get people diagnosed and treated and close down transmission chains.
“Finally, we need to stop stigmatising sexual health so people who might be fearful or embarrassed don’t hesitate to seek screening and care.”
Dr Saxton says we should normalise sex and stop blaming people.
“We have an opportunity now to create a coordinated, strategic approach to STIs and bring them back under control. We don’t want to see the investments in infectious disease control for COVID-19 go to waste,” he says.
“We also don’t want to hear more finger-pointing at individuals and blaming them for being risky. Sex is a common and enjoyable activity, mostly people with STIs are just unlucky.
“Yes safe sex plays an important role. But so does investing in smart systems like surveillance, screening, contact tracing, sexual health services and normalising sexual health.”

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