8 Feb 2016

Pacific records high incidence of sexually transmitted infections

12:03 pm on 8 February 2016

A recent study by the United Nations Population Fund says many adolescents in the Pacific are having sex before marriage, but face a dangerous dearth of information and services.

The study found that young people's sexual behaviour, especially unmarried young people, is a sensitive topic that many governments are failing to confront.

The lead researcher, Dr Elissa Kennedy from Australia's Burnet Institute, said the Pacific has high rates of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies among adolescents.

She said pre-marital sex is common, and young people needed access to more information and health services.

"So while young people's attitudes are changing, community attitudes are not really keeping pace. So they're still very strongly disapproving community attitudes, and that this contributes to considerable barriers that prevent young people accessing information and services that they need."