Condom card helps ease embarrassment

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: West Coast

It works just like a train ticket with 12 passes, you get your ticket clipped and you get a packet of condoms.

Buying condoms has become a rather awkward purchase for some teenagers, so having plain brown packets handed to you over the counter with no questions asked is proving popular.

According to Pharmacist, Megan Reynolds, “People are starting to steal condoms in order to save themselves the embarrassment.”

There are seven Pharmacies’ in The Hawkes Bay area that offer the condom card system.

Young people aged between 13 and 24 can be issued the card from the public health nurse and youth workers.

The scheme has raised questions about encouraging sex among young people, with teenagers as young as 13 able to access free condoms, even though by law the legal age of sexual consent is 16.

Michele Grigg, believes, “What this does is encourage conversations with an adult, and their relationships.”

With Māori teenage pregnancy rates two and half times higher than non-Māori, the point of the card is to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and reduce teenage pregnancies and abortions.

The scheme was funded by the Hawke's Bay DHB and has potential to roll out nationwide.