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Commentary: Facing up to student sex
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-26 09:05

Sex education should not be avoided in colleges, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:

Medical staff have been visiting institutions of higher education in Beijing to spread knowledge about preventing AIDS and distribute free condoms.

The colleges have responded to them differently. In some, the condoms have been confiscated by college managers, while in others, they have been distributed to the students, or even fallen short of supply.

The different attitudes does not reflect the reality of sexual activity in places of higher learning, but the thinking of the various managers.

Sex education has been something of a dilemma in China in recent years. The government and some non-government organizations have called to promote sex education to prevent and control AIDS, but educators have shown their concerns about the "side effects" of such education. They worry it will lead to "improper sex" as Chinese society is still supposed to respect fidelity.

To be open or conservative? The college managers have to make a choice.

From the management perspective, they are afraid that allowing distribution of condoms might send the wrong signal to students and encourage them to have sex.

At the very least, it is a sign of progress that managers allow the contraceptives into the ivory towers at all.

But whether they like it or not, college students have been listed as one of the high-risk groups for sex-transmitted diseases. Education on safe sex should no longer be sidestepped for prudishness.

A realistic attitude towards sex education is not only wise, it could be a life-saver.

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