STIEF News May 2018

In this issue:


Gardasil 9 Restricted Supplies

Ongoing global supply constraints of Gardasil 9 means that supplies of the HPV vaccine are currently limited until September 2018 to school based programmes and, via hospitals, to the high risk groups as identified in the National Immunisation Schedule criteria (people aged 9 to 26 inclusive with HIV infection, transplant patients (including stem cells) or post chemotherapy). 
Supplies will not be able to be ordered by General Practices or other vaccinators.
Vaccinators with patients who require their second or third dose in accordance with the recommended vaccination administration period should delay these doses until September – December 2018. PHARMAC advises that this delay will not impact the efficacy of the vaccine.
In the case of eligible vaccine seekers currently aged 26, health care providers can submit a manual claim for the administration of their vaccine to the Ministry of Health when new stock is available. The deadline for such manual claims will be advised once normal supply has resumed.
Contact PHARMAC with any questions regarding Gardasil 9 vaccine supply  on 0800 660 050 or email [email protected]

HPV Immunisation Programme Uptake 

The Ministry of Health’s HPV Immunisation Programme, launched in January 2017, has been a great success to date. Since programme implementation:

  • there has been >150% growth in Gardasil uptake per District Health Board region and a staggering >450% growth in one region alone
  • funded units have almost doubled from 80,000 (2016) to 155,450 units (2017) 
  • privately purchased units have increased from 2,737 (2016) to 4,084 (2017)

Herpes Helpline Q & A

A commonly asked question on the Herpes Helpline is:

“I have genital herpes – can I pass on herpes to my child by bathing with them or if they brush against my thighs?”


Being a parent

Genital herpes in either parent does not affect babies/children and there is little risk of transmission as long as normal hygiene is ensured.

Parenting, Children and Genital Herpes – Reassurances

Parents commonly tell us about worries they have about passing on genital herpes to their children in the course of daily life (we are not referring here to pregnancy and childbirth – that’s another topic). Perhaps because there is so little information that addresses parents’ concerns, parents end up devising all sorts of ‘safety strategies’ that are completely unnecessary.

The key message is – loving parents (this category includes grumpy, tired, in-need-of-a-break parents) do not pass on genital herpes to their children through the ‘normal’ intimacies of family life. It’s important that fear of transmission doesn’t get in the way of loving touch and shared experiences.

  • Snuggling in bed together is ‘safe’ – the virus isn’t crawling on the sheets from one person to the next.
  • Sharing a bath or shower together isn’t a way the virus is passed on – the same is true for spa baths and swimming pools.
  • Washing clothes in the same washing machine, even when a person has a recurrence, will not pass on the virus.
  • A child brushing against an adult’s upper thighs or abdomen while the adult has a recurrence won’t pass on the virus.
  • If an adult uses the toilet or has touched the genital area and forgotten to wash their hands, this omission is not problematic in terms of herpes. The virus is fragile and dies when it leaves living cells.
  • Washing with ordinary soap and water is clean enough – there’s no need to use any special hand or toilet seat sanitisers.
  • Children do all sorts of odd things that you can’t anticipate, but even if they put your worn knickers on their head they are not going to contract the virus – relax and laugh with them.

Extracted from The NZ Herpes Foundation information booklet “The Facts: A guide for people with Herpes Simplex”

Launch of Safe to talk

In April 2018, a new 24/7 sexual harm information and support helpline – called Safe to talk – was launched in New Zealand. This initiative is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and has been set up as part of the Government’s commitment to better support people affected by any form of sexual harm and to prevent sexual harm by ensuring more people get the help they need at the right time.
The Ministry launch announcement advises:
Safe to talk provides free, confidential information and support to people affected by sexual harm. People who contact the helpline can remain anonymous and say as much or as little as they would like.
The helpline can be accessed free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, text, website, online chat and email on:

Safe to talk is staffed by specialists trained in sexual harm support. People will be able to access information, crisis counselling and support, and/or be given advice about their local service providers.
Homecare Medical has been contracted by the Ministry of Social Development to run Safe to talk. They run the National Telehealth Service which provides other helplines such as Healthline, Quitline, Depression, and other specialist services.
For more information, go to or email the team at [email protected]


A joint meeting between the International Union for Sexually Transmitted Infections – Asia Pacific, the NZ Sexual Health Society and the Australasian Sexual Health Alliance.

This is an opportunity to participate in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary networking event at a time when countries are finding it challenging to maintain sustainable sexual health service delivery.

The congress theme is: 'He muka nō te taura whiri', 'Many Strands Make up one Rope' 
For further information and to register visit: