Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unprotected sex on the rise among Singapore youth

Is Singapore becoming "more open"? Or simply following the downward path of the surrounding influences?
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A man, wearing "sperm" costume, distributes brochures on safe sex.
SINGAPORE: New survey data released in conjunction with World Contraception Day shows that unprotected sex is on the increase among young people in Singapore.

Sixty-one per cent of 200 sexually active young people between the ages of 16 and 19 surveyed in Singapore have had sex without contraception with a new partner, a 12 per cent increase from the previous survey done in 2009.

The multi-country survey, which is supported by a coalition of 10 international organisations with an interest in sexual health, said there is a significant disconnect between young people's attitudes to accepting responsibility for contraception and what they are doing in their day-to-day lives.

It added that the results also highlight that confusion around contraceptive options is still widespread, with highly unreliable contraceptive methods, such as the "withdrawal" method still being viewed as effective.

The survey involved 25 countries and over 5,000 young people aged between 15 and 24 across Asia Pacific, Europe, North American and Latin America.

The survey also shows that only 23 per cent of young people in Singapore consider themselves to be well informed about contraception options, compared to 51 per cent globally. But this could come down to how different cultures approach sex.

Gynaecologist Dr Christopher Ng said: "It's true that in Asia the youth perhaps know less details of contraception, be it the pill or injections or various forms of contraceptions because I think in our culture, (when) talking about sex openly to children, parents can find it awkward or embarrassing."

But not all Singaporeans agree with the findings.

"They (youths) are pretty aware of it (contraception)...probably they just don't discuss it with their friends," said a member of the public.

"Youths are just being very conservative. They don't really wanna share what kind of contraceptive methods they are using," said another.

The survey results are significant as the level of unplanned pregnancies is a major global concern, particularly among young people.

Worldwide, about a third of the 205 million pregnancies which occur each year are unplanned.

In Singapore, the figure is about 2,000.

Dr Sundardas D Annamalay, vice-president of Singapore Planned Parenthood Association, said: "If you are not aware of the consequences of sexual behaviour, you are facing everything from teenage pregnancies to increased incidence of diseases like HIV."

Edward Ong, president of the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association, said that with an increasing number of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies as well as abortions, providing education and supportive services is critical, especially for young people.

One healthcare group in Singapore that is stepping to the plate is the Singapore Medical Group. It will distribute educational booklets at its two gynaecology centres in Singapore.

On its part, the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association is taking measures to organise sexual education programmes in schools as well as youth forums.

World Contraception Day is an event taking place on 26 September every year.

Each year, countries and regions around the world organize events to mark the event.

In Singapore, supporters of safe sex were out in force to get their message across to youths. Donning "sperm" costume, some of the supporters were seen distributing educational brochures in the central business district.


- CNA/fa/ir

How to read a man?

From ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:Unprotected sex on the rise among Singapore youth
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