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Joint programme highlights sex education
Latest Updated by 2006-03-29 14:36:01
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An increase in premarital sex in China has prompted governments and the community to tackle the sensitive issue by providing more education on the issue.

"In a conservative society like China, the majority of people are still embarrassed to talk about sex. But the reality is many young people have begun to have premarital sex without being educated enough on issues related to sex," Pan Guiyu, executive vice-president of China Family Planning Association (CFPA), one of the biggest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in China, told China Daily yesterday.

The association just finished a five-year programme with Washington-based PATH, an international non-profit NGO that aims to improve the health of people around the world, on young people's sexual and reproductive health.

CFPA and PATH started a two-day seminar in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province yesterday.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the US$7 million project has benefited about 5.8 million young people, aged from 10 to 24, in 12 cities and two rural counties since September 2000.

The 12 cities include Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shanghai and Harbin. The two counties are Shangcai County in Henan Province, where there is a high prevalence of AIDS via blood transmission due to a lack of information on how the disease is transmitted, and Peixian County in Jiangsu Province.

"We try to differ in our approach to the issue. Instead of the 'I talk, you listen' scenario, we introduce international practices that allow both young participants and their trainers to be actively engaged in activities, such as role-plays, games, dramas and discussions," Pan said.

CFPA's network, which has more than 1 million branches and 94 million members, provides reproductive knowledge in nine major areas, including adolescent health, preventing sexually transmitted infections, HIV, unwanted pregnancy and drug abuse, to young people at school, workers, people in the army and homosexuals.

The project has received support from local governments, which have allocated more than 40 million yuan (US$5 million) to the project.

The results of the project, according to CFPA, are encouraging.

For example, in Shangcai County, more than 93.2 per cent of adolescents that took part in the project learnt how HIV/AIDS was spread.

In Shenzhen, where millions of single young migrant labourers live, premarital abortions have decreased thanks to the programme.

While continuing its association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CFPA will approach other organizations and government agencies to support its cause.

"We will gradually expand the project to cover the central and western cities and rural areas, to benefit more adolescents in poverty-stricken areas," Pan said.

The CFPA will concentrate its efforts on educating high-school students, college students, the young working population and sex workers, she added.

"It's just the beginning," Pan said.

"Given the rising number of HIV infections caused by sexual transmission, high rates of unwanted pregnancies and higher rates of sexually transmitted infections in China, governments should take more active measures to stop the trend."

Editor: Yan

By: Chen Hong Source: China Daily Website
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