13 Jul 2006

Pacific island holidays blamed for increase in NZ syphilis cases

3:41 am on 13 July 2006

Pacific island holidays are being blamed for an increase in the number of cases of syphilis in New Zealand.

Auckland sexual health clinic statistics show 47.5 per cent of people who tested positive for syphilis indicated they'd picked it up while travelling, with Fiji a popular destination.

Ministry of Health figures show syphilis infections diagnosed at New Zealand sexual health clinics rose from 13 in 2000 to 47 last year, with 19 cases in the first four months of this year.

Dr Gill Greer, executive director of the Family Planning Association, says Pacific governments need to take steps to deal with sexual promiscuity even though such behaviour might be something religious leaders prefer to ignore.

Dr Greer says that between 1988 and 2004, Fiji recorded 852 cases of syphilis.