An Analysis of Sexual Health in New Zealand Youth

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Why are increased levels of sexual education in schools not reducing rates of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in New Zealand adolescents?

Although sexual health is a component of our national curriculum, and so is taught in all New Zealand high schools, there are still concernedly high rates of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in New Zealand adolescents. A multidisciplinary approach can be used to uncover the potential reasons behind this gap between intervention and outcome. This essay will use the perspectives of health geographers, psychologists and sociologists to explore the phenomenon, and will show how multidisciplinary research is useful when considering a topic such as
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Another issue uncovered was that the sexual health messages provided in schools have a negative focus, urging students to take precaution to avoid pregnancy or the contraction of an STI (Coleman et al., 2010). This risk emphasis makes sexual education an unpleasant topic for students, influencing the way they perceive the class as a positive place, and resulting in students not likely to follow safe sex messages (Coleman et al., 2010).
The main focus of the geography perspective, when considering sexual health education, is that schools and sexual education class rooms are symbolic and significant places, read differently by different students. A student’s sense of place within the school and learning environment therefore influences the way they feel about, and follow, sexual health messages given in this environment. The way that health messages are styled and provided also bears relevance, as these factors can influence the perception of sense of place, just as much as sense of place can influence the uptake of such messages. This reciprocal relationship is present in New Zealand schools, and should be looked into when considered ways to improve rates of STIs and unplanned pregnancies in adolescents. Although geography provides a good starting point, multidisciplinary investigation of the topic provides a more
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