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Chinese Youth Mark Chinese Valentine with safe sex campaign

时间:2016-08-10 07:03来源:未知 作者:voa365 点击:

Lovebirds in China are very fortunate as they get to celebrate not one but two Valentine's Days. The Qixi Festival, China's Valentine’s Day, falls on the seventh day of the 7th month on the Chinese calendar and it falls on Tuesday August 9th this year. As couples, young and old, are getting ready for one of the most romantic days of the year, UNICEF China is cautioning them against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.


The music may be familiar theme songs from movies and TV shows but listen carefully to the lyrics and you will find that they have one thing in common. These songs are used to educate young people about sexual and reproductive health.


As the Qixi Festival arrives in China, a network of Chinese youth are calling for young people to make using condoms "cool" to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.


As part of the All In Campaign, a global call to action to end adolescent AIDS, youth representatives from across the country have spent the last month conducting safe sex and HIV prevention activities.


Xie Zhuoyan is a philosophy student from Fudan University in Shanghai and has spent her summer holiday teaching sexual health classes to both children and college students.


"We have different methods teaching children and adults. We would use games to educate little kids. For example, when we teach them about AIDS, we would play 'Bacteria Battle.' We would have all the kids form a circle. Some children would be inside the circle and some would be outside. The ones on the outside have to try to get inside. Then, we would say AIDS is like this game. If you are infected by HIV, the circle, which represents your immune system, would be gone and it would be very easy for the kids on the outside, who represent viruses, to get inside. So we make a lot of comparisons and analogies. For college students, we would talk about more in-depth issues such as how to reject sexual advances and how to handle sex responsibly."


Adolescents in China face a multitude of challenges in sexual and reproductive health, including sexual exploitation and abuse. These have subsequently led to STIs, unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions, all of which pose a threat to their rights to survival, development and protection.


The classes aim to use a mix of online and offline activities to engage youngsters to learn about, talk about and practice safe sex.


Dr. Wang Lu from National AIDS Center of China says sexual health and AIDS prevention education should start from a young age.


"I believe the prevention of AIDS in youth should start from sexual health education. We need to build a curriculum from elementary school to high school. Only when the youth are fully informed and knowledgeable about sexual health can they make the right judgment when it comes to sex and say 'no' to dangerous sexual situations."


According to a report by UNICEF, over 50,000 adolescents aged 15 to 19 in China have been newly infected with HIV in 2014, accounting for 15 percent of all new infections in the country. Over the past five years, China has witnessed rising HIV infections among young people with a 35 percent annual increase in new infections among students aged 15 to 24.


According to UNICEF China's Chief of Communication and Partnership Shantha Bloeman, both teachers and family members have the responsibility of educating kids and youth about sexual health.


"We need to start with parents. Parents have the primary responsibility to help break cultural taboos and breach these conversations with their children. But we also know that it can be really helped and backed up if it also happens at school, if there is a formal education system that helps to reinforce some of these adolescent questions as kids start to develop and experiment. The challenge often is that parents also don't want to discuss these issues with their children. They feel embarrassed. So there is a void. Who is talking about this to their kids?"


Without guidance from teachers and parents, kids would often turn to the internet for information. And that could put them at even higher risk. Shantha Bloeman says that in order to provide the correct information to their children, parents must be both open-minded and resourceful.


"(You need to) do the homework yourself. There are some good tools around. In a way, it's responding to their questions. Kids are curious. They start asking questions and often, we shut them down when they start asking questions we don't want to address. We can't do that. We've got to be willing to encourage them to ask questions. And if we don't feel comfortable, then figure out whom in the family is less embarrassed. But I think it's very dangerous when, especially young people, seek information and then being told it's not the right question to ask."


But Bloeman says she is excited to see the development in sexual health education in China and how the next generation will approach the subject.