China / Society

Free condoms to be available for students

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-13 07:53

Contraceptives will be distributed free of charge in all institutions of higher education in Zhejiang province within a year, the provincial health authority said.

The distribution service launched by the authority began as a pilot project in 10 universities and colleges in March.

The project was considered a success, so distribution will now expand to all of the province's 128 colleges and universities.

At least one condom machine will be installed in each institution and students can get them free by swiping their ID card, according to Li Danhe, a health and family planning official from the province.

Zhejiang University in Hangzhou is one of the universities that took part in the pilot project.

"More than 1,000 boxes of condoms have been given out since March, and I replenish the machine every week to avoid a shortage," a doctor surnamed Chen from the university clinic was quoted by Beijing Morning Post as saying.

"Most people who take the condoms are male students," he added.

Li said it was not an easy job to negotiate with universities and local communities to install such machines. "Some colleges said they were concerned such a move would encourage sex and would incur opposition and complaints from students' parents," she said.

According to the National Health and Family Planning Commission, roughly 13 million abortions are performed in China annually. Nearly two-thirds of them involve women between 20 and 29. The majority of the women are single.

Li Yinhe, a sociologist and sexologist based in Beijing, said: "We can't tell university students to stay away from sex. It's better to tell them to have safe sex rather than let young people fall victim to venereal disease and accidental pregnancy."

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