Schoolies offered free condoms

18/11/06

SCHOOLIES on the Gold Coast will be provided with free condoms to encourage safe sex, prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.

The end of school party began yesterday on the Gold Coast, with about 40,000 school leavers mainly from Queensland and NSW expected over the next 10 days.

Condoms will be provided by sexual health organisation, Marie Stopes International, which says Australia has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and STIs in the world.Australian CEO of Marie Stopes International Suzanne Dvorak said the chances of schoolies engaging in sexual activity during the festival greatly increases.

"Unfortunately, we have traditionally seen an increase in the number of people needing advice for unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections reported in the weeks following the schoolies vacation,"she said.

"It is therefore vital that teenagers have access to condoms." - AAP

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