Sexually transmitted infections should be reclassified to enable better tracking and treatment as social media influences sexual behaviour and more drug-resistant strains emerge, a health authority says.
Regional Public Health, in the greater Wellington region, has supported legislation that will place HIV, gonorrhea and syphilis on the list of notifiable diseases, meaning more information about cases would be collected by authorities.
But it also wants chlamydia - the country's most common STI - to be notified, as well as specified antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
Dr Annette Nesdale, the medical officer of health, said these additions were most important at a surveillance level, using anonymised reporting.
"The world has changed. Antibiotic resistance is huge ... we don't have a lot of these problems yet, but all of these are only a plane flight away from us," Dr Nesdale told a health select committee hearing at Parliament yesterday.
Apps and social media had "enhanced people's abilities to find sexual partners and hence potentially transmit STIs", Dr Nesdale said.
The Health (Protection) Amendment Bill, which passed its first reading in November, will also make it an offence to not comply with "contract tracers" - health officials who determine who a person with a infectious disease has been in contact with, and whether those people may have contracted the disease.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has said voluntary compliance with health officials is the preferred option, but some people do not co-operate.
They could be fined up to $2000 upon conviction.
Dr Nesdale said her team were experienced with contact tracing and supported the changes in the bill - not because they had any problem with people refusing to co-operate, but to legitimise the process.
It would be a missed opportunity if the changes were not accompanied by adequate resourcing, she said. The bill will also ban the provision of sunbed services to under-18s.