13 Jun 2013

STI tests to be available in Tokelau within months

3:20 pm on 13 June 2013

The growing number of people in Tokelau with symptoms of sexually transmitted infections will be able to be tested for them within months.

The national co-ordinator for public health says in the past three years more and more young people have been coming to hospital with suspected infections and records indicate they have spread among about 20 percent of youth.

Alipati Tavite says recent funding from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community has enabled the hospital to order laboratory testing equipment.

"And in two weeks' time there will be a workshop on carrying out those tests for the medical officers and the staff to be trained how to carry out those tests. So in the next few months these tests will be available in Tokelau."

Alipati Tavite says the costs involved means it will not be possible yet to test for all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

He says because most Tokelauans are Catholic, it is difficult to talk about safe sex and the risks of STIs.