30 Jun 2015

Pacific politicians need to lobby for sex talks

7:06 am on 30 June 2015

The United Nations says it is up to politicians to convince church leaders, teachers and parents to spark discussions about men's sexual health.

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark Photo: AFP

Parliamentary officials from around the Pacific are in New Zealand to share ideas about engaging men and boys in reproductive and sexual health initiatives.

The United Nations Population Fund's Laurent Zessler says most men have their first sexual experience before the age of 15 and need accurate information at an early age.

But he says men are often left out of conversations about sexual health and politicians need to lobby community leaders to get men talking about family planning.

"We consider that parliamentarians around the world could advocate for change including gatekeepers such as religious leaders, community leaders, teachers and parents, that should also be involved in advocacy activities."

Dr Laurent Zessler says investing in sexual health results in less unintended pregnancies which in turn reduces the cost of overall health expenditure.