7 Oct 2008

Fiji records STI increase among young people

4:26 pm on 7 October 2008

Rates of sexually transmitted infections among young people in Fiji have been steadily increasing for the past eight years.

The latest figures show that last year the health ministry recorded 1,338 cases of gonorrhoea and 1,123 of syphilis.

Young people, aged 20-29, are most affected by sexually transmitted infections according to the figures.

Josaih Samuela, the national advisor on family health, says the numbers are only from reports from public health system, not private clinics.

He says young people seem to know they should be practicing safe sex, but don't do it.

"We've done surveys to gauge the knowledge base of young people, and they seem to be a good assessment of that, but I think it comes down to attitude and behaviour. I mean having knowledge is good, on the other hand, changing attitudes and behaviour is the most important."

Josaih Samuela says parents are the key to addressing the issue, but there are a lot of factors that hinder that.